GAFFI has progressed its mission to reduce illness and death associated with fungal diseases worldwide during 2014/15, its second year of operation. The disabling and stigmatising fungal tropical skin disease ‘Chromoblastomycosis’ has been added to GAFFI’s five priority diseases.
GAFFI’s key activities have included:
- ‘95-95 by 2025’ 10 year Roadmap: GAFFI has drawn up a 10 year global roadmap for fungal diseases following a stakeholder meeting in Seattle in February 2015. GAFFI has estimated that with provision of fungal diagnostics, antifungal therapies, and development of expertise through Reference Laboratories in each country, the decrease of opportunistic fungal infections in AIDS will save over a 1,000,000 lives every year.
- GAFFI called on governments to support the reduction in AIDS deaths from 1,500,000 to under 500,000 a year. The Roadmap was mailed to every Minister of Health and numerous international health agencies, and highlighted in Lancet Infectious Diseases and Thorax journals.
- Burden of fungal diseases: now estimated for 5 billion people (71% of the world’s population)
- Fungal diagnostics: A national program of provision and training in fungal diagnostics for AIDS-related infections has been funded in Guatemala by GAFFI. Additional progress has been made on Aspergillus antibody testing with clear indications that many ‘smear negative TB’ cases are actually aspergillosis. A new project to develop a point of care test for fungal keratitis has been funded by GAFFI.
- Antifungal treatments:Availability and costs of amphotericin B, flucytosine, fluconazole and itraconazole for most countries has been ascertained and a paper summarizing this drafted. Amphotericin B remains unavailable in 64 countries, flucytosine in 94, fluconazole in 3 and itraconazole in 12.
- Health professional education: Efforts to educate healthcare professionals about fungal diseases have intensified with courses in Nigeria, Uganda and Brazil. Masters students in Medical Mycology are now graduating each year. The quarterly LIFE newsletter is emailed to over 9,000 health professionals around the world. Usage of the LIFE website is ~12,000 unique users monthly.
GAFFI has four long term goals, supported by advocacy to :
- Increase awareness of the impact of fungal disease
- Improve access to diagnostics for fungal disease
- Improve access to appropriate and affordable antifungal therapeutics with a focus on generic agent
- Improve education of health professionals about fungal disease