Despite the tremendous progress made over the past 15 years, greater investments are needed to achieve the goal of a world free of malaria, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today in Ethiopia, where world leaders have gathered to discuss financing for development.
“We are coming to the end of an extraordinary period in the fight against malaria,” Mr. Ban said at an event on Malaria Financing for a New Era, held on the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
Participants at the event in Addis Ababa discussed the new World Health Assembly endorsed Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s Action and Investment to defeat Malaria 2016-2030 (AIM) – for a malaria-free world.
AIM – for a malaria-free world builds on the success of the first Global Malaria Action Plan – for a malaria-free world, serving as a guide for collective action for all those engaged in the fight against malaria. It complements the WHO Global Technical Strategy by positioning malaria in the wider development agenda.
Together, these documents provide technical guidance and a framework for action and investment to achieve the ambitious malaria elimination targets outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Member States are set to adopt this September.
The final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) showed that malaria deaths have reached an all-time low, and Mr. Ban noted that this success has been a collective effort forged by partnerships. “It could not have been possible without the contributions of every part of our coalition.”
Mr. Ban thanked the heads of State and Ministers of Health and Finance for their effort and leadership, especially the African Leaders Malaria Alliance; the World Health Organization (WHO); the broad coalition of committed partners under the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; and the multitude of international funders, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank.
“As we move toward a new set of global goals for sustainable development, we have an unprecedented opportunity to put an end to the global threat of malaria once and for all,” he stressed.
“And we have the strategic vision to do so,” he continued, referring to the two documents discussed at the event. “They provide a comprehensive framework to guide efforts to reduce malaria by 90 per cent by 2030. Achieving this will take continued and greater investments from all countries, including a robust replenishment of the Global Fund.”
Success, he added, will also depend on continued coordination of efforts, with clear targets to push towards the ultimate goal of ending malaria.
Progress in the fight against malaria since 2000 has resulted in a 58 per cent reduction in malaria mortality - with more than 6.2 million malaria deaths averted between 2001 and 2015, according to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM), which comprises a number of UN agencies and partners.
However, malaria remains a major cause and consequence of poverty and inequity worldwide. It impedes economic development, undermines food security, stops children going to school, and absorbs the capacity of national systems to respond effectively to health security threats.
Experts say over $100 billion is needed to achieve the 2030 target of reducing the malaria burden by 90 per cent, with an additional $10 billion needed to fund research and development of new tools, including new drugs and insecticides. To achieve the first milestone of reducing malaria incidence and mortality rates by 40 per cent, annual malaria investments will need to rise to $6.4 billion by 2020.
“Now, more than ever, we must re-focus our efforts and re-commit our budgets so we can continue saving lives and unlock economic potential in communities around the world,” said Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, RBM’s Executive Director.