Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada is allocating $785 million CA ($605 million US) to the international fund designed to fight and prevent malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis.

This financial commitment, which is expected to last for three years from 2017 to 2019, is a 20 percent increase from the country's previous contribution to the Global Fund.

Established in 2002, the Global Fund raises up to $4 billion US ($5.1 billion CA) annually. Canada's commitment to the fund has always focused on fighting three of the world's most devastating diseases, reducing cases of child mortality, and improving maternal health.

"[O]rganizations like the Global Fund exist to make a real difference," says Trudeau. "It works hard each and every day to deliver help to those who need it most."

The government will also support the Global Fund's campaign on social media called "End It For Good," which Trudeau says encourages the public, particularly the youth, to direct awareness about AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis with the help of social media.

Efforts on maternal health from Canada's previous government have received praise from the international community, including the World Health Organization.

Trudeau says Canada has a duty to lead by example on the global stage and that the commitments announced will help vulnerable citizens live better, longer, healthier lives that are free from the burden of disease.

Changing Lives

The prime minister was joined on stage in Ottawa by a 23-year-old woman from Zimbabwe named Loyce Maturu who recalled her experiences living with HIV. Maturu lost her brother and mother to tuberculosis and AIDS in 2002.

She was only 10 at that time. Two years after, she learned she had contracted both HIV and tuberculosis.

"I really got depressed," she says. "I cried and I thought I was going to die, and that was the end of me just like my mother and my younger brother had died."

Thanks to a clinic supported by Global Fund, Maturu received treatment for tuberculosis.

As a 12-year-old, she struggled accepting that she had HIV. She suffered verbal and emotional abuse from a relative, too. In 2010, she attempted to commit suicide.

Now, Maturu has come a long way. She is a survivor and spokesperson in support of the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Maturu says a lot still has to be done to make sure that people like her, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, have access to care, treatment, and support services for a healthy life.

Meanwhile, Canada will be hosting the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund on Sept. 16, 2016 in Montreal.

Photo: Alex Guibord | Flickr

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