Leaders at UN launch campaign to virtually eliminate malaria deaths by 2015

25 September 2008

Government, business and civil society leaders gathered at the United Nations today to launch a global campaign to reduce malaria deaths, currently at more than 1 million each year, to near zero by 2015, with an initial commitment of nearly a $3 billion.

The Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) aims to cuts deaths and illness by 2010 to half their 2000 levels by scaling up access to insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying and treatment, and achieve the near-zero goal through sustained universal coverage. Ultimately it seeks to eradicate the disease completely with new tools and strategies.

Fully implementing GMAP will require $5.3 billion worldwide in 2009, $2.2 billion of it for Africa, and $6.2 billion in 2010, $2.86 billion for Africa, to expand malaria control programmes. An additional $750 million to $900 million per year is needed for research on vaccines drugs and other new tools.

“This $3 billion commitment is really encouraging,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the launching ceremony. “Of course, you know, we need more. There are so many areas we need urgent funding, but this is a good will demonstration to the international community, as a part of your participation.

Leaders present with Mr.Ban included, UN World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, News Corporation president Peter Chernin and U2 lead singer Bono.

“To halt and reverse the incidence of malaria is not only a specific Millennium Development Goal (MDG),” Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers said, referring to the targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 which aim to slash poverty, hunger, preventable illness and a host of other socio-economic ills by 2015.

“It is also essential to improving maternal and child health, improving education and significantly reducing poverty,” he added, citing some of the other MDGs.

The commitments announced today include $1.6 billion over two years from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, with a plan to distribute 100 million additional bed nets; $1.1 billion from the World Bank; $168 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for vaccine research; $40 million from the United Kingdom Department for International Aid; and $28 million from Marathon Oil/Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria/Equatorial Guinea.

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