The numbers are dramatic, no doubt about it.

Since the pandemic began, more than 4.6 million people have died of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

At least these are the dead officially listed by Johns Hopkins University on the dashboard for Covid-19.

Projections assume far more, even three to four times the number, especially if not only the infected and thus directly affected victims are taken into account, but also the indirect ones: because the new coronavirus overloaded the health systems and caused them to collapse in some cases.

Because in many places there is simply a lack of protective equipment, instruments, therapy options and vaccines, which also had to be developed.

Sonja Kastilan

Responsible for the “Science” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

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That is why the effects of this pandemic on world health, a “global health”, are overall much greater than the crisis suggests at first glance, not to mention the economic consequences. However, the fact that infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS / HIV must not be forgotten on the side is a reminder of the current annual report of the Global Fund, which was founded in 2002 to fight these three comparatively old pandemics: 44 million lives have been saved since then, In 2020 alone, according to the report published on Wednesday, there were 5.4 million. However, Covid-19 makes it more difficult to achieve the ambitious goals of identifying affected patients on the one hand, treating them appropriately after their diagnosis and on the other hand preventing future infections.The fact that El Salvador was declared free of malaria in February is an important achievement for the Global Fund and its partners, because this disease is to be eliminated worldwide. In terms of prevention and treatment, however, there were setbacks, among other things because education about AIDS and HIV in schools and classes had to be canceled; Compared to 2019, the number of HIV tests fell by 22 percent, for malaria only by 4.3 percent.Compared to 2019, the number of HIV tests fell by 22 percent, for malaria only by 4.3 percent.Compared to 2019, the number of HIV tests fell by 22 percent, for malaria only by 4.3 percent.

“In 2019 we achieved the best result in our history at a funding conference - 14 billion. But 2020 didn't turn out quite as we expected, to put it mildly, ”says Peter Sands, Managing Director of the Global Fund. His British humor was shown in an interview with the

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

Again and again, defying the odds, even if the appearance of Covid-19 did not make the tasks of the Global Fund any easier: All programs had to be changed and adapted, and quickly.

In the case of malaria, the results are surprising and "remarkably stable".

The number of mosquito nets distributed could even be increased by 17 percent compared to the previous year: Instead of driving a truck into the villages as before, where all residents then gather in the center to pick up a net, it was decided to use one because of the risk of infection new model.

Motorcycles were purchased with which the nets are now delivered, from door to door, so to speak.

Sobering results

In this way, the individual households can be better reached: "A success that did not happen automatically, but only because those responsible reacted very quickly, had good ideas and implemented the innovations," explains Sands. The fact that 11.5 million pregnant women also received preventive therapy for malaria, almost as many as in 2019, is also thanks to programs that have been adapted to the new situation, which should prove to be more difficult for AIDS and especially for tuberculosis: Antiviral drugs were given to 21.9 million people, but treatment for the deadly tuberculosis bacilli fell 18 percent to 4.7 million patients, and resistant pathogens are an increasing problem.