UK government funding cuts: statement from Unitaid’s Chair and Executive Director

June 10th, 2021

Published: June 10th, 2021

Geneva, 10 June 2021 Unitaid has been informed by the Government of the United Kingdom that our funding from the UK has been cut from an expected £77 million in 2021 to just £6 million. This includes a deferred contribution of £33 million from 2020.

While recognising that the pandemic has placed governments in an unexpected and challenging economic situation, we deeply regret such a significant step back from a strong partner and the second largest donor to the organisation, at a moment when equitable access to health solutions is more needed than ever.

Beyond the direct devastating effects of COVID-19, these fifteen months of pandemic have already set back the progress made so far in the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis by ten to twelve years.

Investments are urgently needed, not only to boost manufacturing capacity, supply and the equitable distribution of tools against the COVID-19 pandemic, but also crucially to mitigate against collateral damage in the global fight against diseases which predominantly impact the most vulnerable.

The announced cuts will reduce the resources available to Unitaid to provide end-to-end game-changing solutions that address the multiple challenges facing global health. However, it is important to stress that in spite of this context, the organisation remains strongly committed to its mandate.

We hope the decrease in the UK contribution is only temporary.

Marisol Touraine – Chair of the Executive Board, Unitaid

Dr Philippe Duneton – Executive Director, Unitaid

About Unitaid

Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, as well as HIV co-infections and co-morbidities such as cervical cancer and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management. Unitaid is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator. Unitaid is hosted by the World Health Organization.