Globally, over 300 million people of all ages suffer from serious fungal infections every year resulting in 1,350,000 deaths. Like Malaria with 627,000 deaths and tuberculosis with 1,300,000 deaths annually (2013), many deaths from fungal infection are avoidable. Most serious fungal infections are ‘hidden’, occurring as a consequence of other health problems such as asthma, AIDS, cancer, organ transplant and corticosteroid therapies. All require specialized testing for diagnosis, and delays or missed diagnosis often lead to death, serious chronic illness or blindness. While antiretroviral therapy of HIV infection is essential, many patient die of fungal disease before antiretroviral treatment, or in the first year of therapy.
Introduction to GAFFI:
There is an urgent need for dissemination of rapid and low cost diagnostics and new, safer, and more affordable oral antifungal drugs. Enhanced community engagement is needed. The Global Action Fund For Fungal Infections (GAFFI) was created as a foundation last year with the following objectives:
To increase awareness of the impact of fungal disease
To improve access to diagnostics for fungal disease
To improve access to appropriate and affordable antifungal therapeutics, with a focus on generic agents
To educate of health professionals about fungal disease
Introduction to BVGH:
BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) was established in 2004 by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) to engage industry in global health initiatives. BVGH works with organizations from both public and private sectors to develop and execute programs, create and manage partnerships, and facilitate capacity and leadership development initiatives, to positively impact global health and development. While BVGH works with partners around the world, there is an emphasis on engaging African institutions.
The Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI) and BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) jointly organized a Global Fungal Infections Forum that will convene relevant fungal stakeholder groups, including researchers, clinicians, metric agencies, funding agencies, public health and ministry of health officials, international health organizations, and pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies.
To highlight the substantial avoidable deaths and morbidity associated with major fungal infections in AIDS and following TB
To describe available tools to greatly improve outcomes and highlight barriers
To agree action points for national governments and international agencies to contribute to ‘Getting to Zero’ deaths.