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France, a key player in global health

In recent decades, France has made a major financial commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (particularly through the Global Fund) and promoting mother-child health (particularly through the French Muskoka Fund).

Despite considerable progress being made in fighting pandemics (almost 17.5 million people now have access to antiretroviral treatment globally compared to 7.5 million in 2010), major challenges remain. Every year, 2 million people are infected by the HIV virus and 1 million die of AIDS. In 2016, tuberculosis and malaria killed 1.6 million and 445,000 people respectively.

France is maintaining its high-level political and financial commitment to multilateral funds, contributing more than €500 million per year. It is also calling for a widening of the public and private donor base. This will be one of the focuses of the Global Fund Replenishment Conference hosted by France in Lyon in 2019.

France’s commitment in figures
  • France contributes more than €500 million per year to multilateral funds.
  • It is the second-largest contributor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the largest contributor to Unitaid.
  • It is the sixth-largest contributor to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Working towards universal health coverage

To meet new global public health challenges and adapt to the changing international context and frameworks, especially following the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in September 2015, France has adopted a cross-cutting approach. As part of this approach, it works to reinforce health systems to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) while continuing to fight disease.

Following recent health crises, such as the Ebola epidemic in 2014 and the Zika outbreak in 2016, France is helping to restructure international health security around the World Health Organization, which defends this cause.

The mobilization of the MEAE’s agencies and network

The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has substantial technical and human resources at its disposal in the global health field.

Two agencies are responsible for the international implementation of France’s expertise and official development assistance policies in the health field.

  • The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) helps finance development policies and projects. It is a donor in 90 countries, providing grants (including through debt relief and development contracts or C2Ds) and loans. These loans may be sovereign (to States), non-sovereign (to public entities without State guarantees) or private (to non-profit and for-profit entities). Its health and social protection divisions and civil society organizations are key players in global health.
  • France’s international technical cooperation agency, Expertise France, mobilizes French public experts. It develops and implements public health projects that aim to fight the three main pandemics (AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria) as part of the Initiative 5% and to bolster health systems to achieve universal health coverage and health security.
  • A specialist network comprising 10 regional global health advisers in embassies in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia monitors global health issues and activities carried out by the Global Fund, Unitaid and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

France’s 2017-2021 global health strategy

France has adopted a global health strategy for the 2017-2021 period which features a cross-cutting approach to global health issues.

France’s activities are based on the following principles:

  • A rights-based approach;
  • The promotion of universal access to health, particularly by fighting all forms of inequality;
  • National ownership;
  • French attractiveness and influence, particularly in the fields of health training, research and innovation.

The strategy was developed by working with all French players in healthcare, research and development. It will help to concentrate efforts on a shared goal and four key priorities:

  • Enhancing health systems while fighting illnesses;
  • Enhancing health security at the international level;
  • Promoting the health of populations;
  • Promoting French expertise, training, research and innovation.

Updated: November 2018