Thank you very much, Chairman Levitt, Vice-Chair O'Toole, Vice-Chair Caron—he's not here yet—and honourable members of the committee for the opportunity to address you today.
My name is Françoise Vanni. I'm the new director of external relations for the Global Fund. I assumed the role last September. I know many of you worked with my predecessor Christoph Benn, who had been working in that position for many years and has testified in front of this committee many times. He has conveyed to me the strong support the committee has consistently provided to the Global Fund. I look forward to getting to know all of you in the many years to come.
On behalf of the Global Fund and our partners, I would like to begin by expressing our profound gratitude to Canada for your long-standing support for our work and the leadership in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria. Canada is a founding donor of the Global Fund and has always played a crucial role in our success. Our fifth replenishment, hosted by Canada in September 2016, was the most successful ever, with pledge commitments increasing substantially for the three-year cycle that began in 2017. Support from the Canadian government, including our allies in Parliament, was essential to producing this great result.
Canada was a leader in pledge increases as well, providing a 24% increase over your previous pledge and our seventh-largest pledge commitment overall. We take very seriously the responsibility to report back to you regularly regarding the returns of those investments and the need to work with you to ensure Canadian citizens know the immense value of contributions to the Global Fund, as well as the major role such investments are playing in achieving the 2030 sustainable development goals.
The Global Fund is the world's largest global health financier, investing nearly $4 billion U.S. a year. Since our creation in 2002, Global Fund-supported programs have saved over 27 million lives. This accomplishment includes helping to cut AIDS-related deaths in half since the epidemic's peak in 2005, contributing to a 25% decline in TB deaths and a 45% decline in malaria deaths since 2000. In 2017 alone, in the over 100 countries where we operate, 17.5 million people received antiretroviral HIV therapy, five million people were treated for TB and 197 million insecticide-treated bed nets were distributed to prevent malaria. In total, we provide the majority of the international funding to combat these three diseases: 20% for HIV/AIDS, 65% for TB and 57% for malaria. Two-thirds of our funds go to countries in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV and malaria are most geographically concentrated, along with nearly half the global TB burden.
Ultimately ending these epidemics will only be achieved with sustainable health systems that are fully funded by the countries themselves. Through our co-financing policy, the Global Fund requires recipient countries to consistently increase domestic investments in their national health systems. This effectively leverages budget increases in domestic financing for health. In the 2015-17 funding cycle such commitments increased by 33% compared with 2012-14. During the current 2018-20 cycle a further 41% increase is projected. The Global Fund has achieved these results while consistently receiving strong reviews for performance, efficiency and transparency.
However, after years of remarkable progress in the fight against the three diseases, new threats have pushed us off the trajectory needed to reach the SDG targets. For example, as I am sure you are aware, gender inequality is a major driver of disease, particularly HIV. An estimated 1,000 adolescent girls and young women are being infected with HIV every day. Canada's commitment to a foreign policy focused on gender equality is therefore the right approach and essential for progress against HIV, and it's very well aligned with the Global Fund's mission.
The Global Fund partnership is scaling up investments to meet this challenge, including by strengthening linkages with education and supporting interventions to reduce gender-related barriers to HIV services. For example, in South Africa we support a program run by peer group trainers that provides counselling, HIV prevention education and academic support to over 61,000 girls to help them stay healthy and stay in school. Together with partners, the Global Fund has set targets to reduce the number of new infections among young women by 58% in 13 African countries over the next five years, which is rather ambitious.
Other obstacles that threaten continued progress include the growing threat of drug-resistant TB and the 3.6 million “missing” TB cases that are not being diagnosed every year. Also, more than one-third of people living with HIV are still not accessing treatment, and marginalized populations are 28 times more likely to contract HIV. We are also seeing a recent increase in malaria cases, especially in the highest burden countries.
I can go into many more details regarding our investments that respond to these challenges during today's discussion, but fundamental to addressing them all is building resilient and sustainable systems for health. As a result, 27% of our investments, or about $1 billion U.S. annually, goes toward fundamentals such as improving procurement and supply chains, strengthening data systems, training the health workforce, building stronger community responses and promoting more integrated service delivery. Building stronger health systems is the foundation for progress toward universal health coverage, and this annual investment makes the Global Fund the largest multilateral grant funder worldwide for these vital needs.
In February, we launched our sixth replenishment campaign at a preparatory meeting hosted by the Government of India in New Delhi. This event brought together governments, donors, technical partners, civil society groups and people living with the diseases in a demonstration of global solidarity. Pledge commitments for this replenishment will cover the three-year cycle from 2020 to 2022. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to discuss the investment case that was released at that meeting.
Our message during this replenishment campaign is that we need to step up the fight. We need to step up the fight to get back on track if we are to end HIV, TB and malaria and achieve SDG number three: health and well-being for all.
To get back on track to reach the SDG target of ending the epidemics by 2030, the investment case identifies a fundraising target of at least $14 billion U.S. to fund programs to fight the three diseases and build stronger health systems in the next three-year cycle. This level of funding will build on the success of the Montreal replenishment by saving an additional 16 million lives and averting an estimated 234 million infections by 2023, reducing both mortality and incidence rates by approximately one half.
Canada has consistently increased its contribution to the Global Fund each replenishment cycle. Thank you for that. I hope that our strong partnership will translate into another increased pledge in the sixth replenishment. The ongoing multi-party support we receive has been essential for achieving the remarkable progress of the last 17 years, and it will be indispensable to step up the fight this year and get back on track.
I'm very pleased to be joined today by Loyce Maturu, who was a featured speaker during the fifth replenishment conference in Montreal. I'd like to invite her to say a few words about her experiences living with HIV and her work with the Global Fund.