11 December 2012

Africa: Renewed Commitment to the Fight Against Malaria Is Urgently Needed

During the past decade, global malaria prevention and control efforts have been scaled up, with notable progress in sub-Saharan Africa. However, ... ( Resource: Scale Up the Fight Against Malaria - WHO

press release

Washington, D.C. — Malaria No More welcomes the release of the World Health Organization's World Malaria Report 2012. The report demonstrates the extraordinary successes of the global fight against malaria in recent years, but also sounds the alarm that these successes are imperiled if funding for the fight remains stagnant.

"Today's report should serve as a wake-up call to the global community that action is urgently needed to prevent a humanitarian crisis," said Dr. David Bowen, CEO of Malaria No More. "The extraordinary gains of recent years in the battle to end deaths from malaria are in danger of being wiped away unless governments, corporations, and communities redouble their commitment to fighting this disease. A generation of children is at risk from a resurgence of malaria. To prevent that tragedy, we need not only new commitments of support, but new tools to combat malaria, and innovative ways to fund the global fight against this terrible killer."

Over the past decade, due in large part to a scale-up of malaria interventions as well as financial and political commitments, an estimated 1.1 million malaria deaths have been averted. This scale-up in interventions has allowed the global community to make tremendous progress in the fight against malaria. After this impressive scale-up, however, funding has leveled off and this stagnation in providing proven interventions puts a decade of gains at risk. The Report highlights statistics, including percentage of households owning at least one insecticide-treated net in sub-Saharan Africa (53 percent), percentage of people protected by indoor residual spraying (IRS) (11 percent) and diagnostic testing rates (slight increase of 1 percent), that have also leveled off, remaining at levels at or near those from 2010.

We risk losing the gains we have made without increased financial and political commitment to ending malaria. This need is particularly acute for the bed nets that protect families across Africa. These nets have only a three year lifespan, and millions of families will soon be at risk if these nets are not replaced. Children who have been kept safe from malaria are most in danger from resurgence of the disease.

The Report highlights an alarming funding gap, noting that only $2.3 billion is available of the estimated $5.1 billion needed each year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions. An additional $3.6 billion in funding is needed between now and 2015. Governments, private companies and NGOs have demonstrated success in partnering to scale-up interventions in the past, and this is needed once again.

An essential element in the fight against malaria is strong support for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (which funds half of all malaria interventions worldwide). The Global Fund has taken impressive steps to improve its operations and strengthen its leadership, and

fully deserves the support of the United States and donors around the world in its upcoming replenishment, scheduled for September 2013.

The Malaria Policy Center, a project of Malaria No More, works to raise awareness and galvanize support to address the global fight against malaria. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Center works with the global health community to engage policy leaders in the United States and in the other donor nations to advance efforts to defeat malaria worldwide.

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