>MICROSOFT chairman Bill Gates yesterday pledged additional $750 million to global AIDS fund and urged governments to continue their support to save lives.
"These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world's poorest," he said in Davos at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
According to Reuters, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria announced two days ago that its executive director, Michel Kazatchkine, was stepping down early following criticism over misuse of funds and cuts in funding.
The public-private organisation, which has the backing of celebrities like rock star Bono, accounts for around a quarter of international financing to fight HIV and AIDS, as well as the majority of funds to fight TB and malaria.
But it has been forced to cut back and said last year it would make no new grants or funding until 2014.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving $750 million through a promissory note – a fresh injection in addition to the $650 million that the Gates charity has contributed since the fund was launched 10 years ago.
While that will give an immediate boost, more is needed from governments, which have provided the bulk of the $22.6 billion that has been raised by the Geneva-based organisation to date for its work in 150 countries
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