Prominent leaders in global health and development joined several African heads of state at UN Headquarters today to announce new commitments to accelerate progress toward ending deaths from malaria, a disease that claims the lives of more than 850,000 Africans each year.
Participants included Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda of Tanzania; President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone; Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of Great Britain; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; Bill Gates, Co-chair and Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization; Robert B. Zoellick, President, the World Bank Group; Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; and Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria.
“As we assess progress on the MDGs, our record on malaria stands as an example of successful implementation and effective collaboration,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement. “We have made solid advances in recent years both in reducing deaths and increasing the use of lifesaving nets. The goal of ending malaria deaths is within reach, and I urge all partners to sustain the momentum.”
Leaders of all sub-Saharan African nations are working to bridge critical gaps in access to mosquito nets, Indoor Residual Spraying, and medicines to reach UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s goal of providing life-saving malaria control interventions to the 700 million people at risk of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2010.
As a result of country leadership and the commitment of partners such as the World Bank Group, the Global Fund, and the US President’s Malaria Initiative, the majority of African nations have secured nearly all of the financial resources required to achieve the target. To ensure that there are no delays in reaching the Secretary-General’s goal, partners and African leadership are committing to accelerating the delivery of these life-saving interventions by the end of 2010.
“Endemic countries and donor governments have demonstrated that rapid and steady progress against malaria is possible, and we must keep going to achieve the objectives of zero preventable malaria deaths and eradication,” said Bill Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “This will be possible only by sustaining existing efforts and committing to develop and introduce new tools, including a safe and effective malaria vaccine, new drugs and vector control tools.”
Speaking on behalf of His Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda of the United Republic of Tanzania called for global support to help Africa achieve the Abuja targets and the UN Secretary-General’s targets.
“Africa’s leaders are grateful for these new commitments from the international community,” said Mr. Pinda. “Partnership is absolutely essential to making progress against malaria, and Africa’s heads of state are fully committed to achieving victory against malaria in the next decade. We owe our children nothing less.”
“Today, enough nets are in place to protect 75 percent of those at risk, and we will reach universal coverage by December 31, 2010, an astounding testimony to the power and efficacy of the unified global campaign,” said Ray Chambers, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria. “These nets have reached nearly 500 million people in the last two years alone, and their impact on saving lives is profound – current levels of intervention are saving 200,000 lives per year. We are on track to meet the Secretary-General’s goal of ending malaria deaths by 2015, and our work won’t be finished until we do.”
The African Leaders Malaria Alliance is a coalition of 35 African Heads of State who are committed to working together to end malaria. The current convening chair of ALMA is President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania. For more information please visit ALMA2015.org .
Universal Access to Malaria Control Interventions and the Secretary-General’s Goal: Projections indicate that by maintaining the current pace through the end of the year, the commitment to universal coverage by delivering over 350 million nets to sub-Saharan Africa since 2007, making available protection to 700 million people, will have been fulfilled. 240 million nets will have been delivered in the past two years alone, reaching the target set in the 2008.
Dedication to universal coverage does not end on December 31st, as the production and distribution of nets will continue in the early months of 2011 and the global partnership will ensure that nations with ongoing financing gaps for new and replacement campaigns receive the necessary resources.
Statements of Support
“African heads of state are fully committed to working with global donors to accelerate progress against malaria and create a firm foundation for effective partnership. This means removing taxes and tariffs that absorb precious malaria funds and supporting the replenishment of multilateral funding that is crucial to continuing progress in malaria control.”
H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma, President, Sierra Leone
“Malaria costs Africa and its people about $12 billion annually in lost GDP, and it slows down GDP growth by as much as 1.3 percent per year. While the international community is heeding the call to fund and produce bednets and drug treatments to fight malaria, we must also deliver the bednets where they are most needed. Most countries fighting the scourge of malaria are IDA recipient countries. It is now more important than ever to ensure that IDA is replenished so we can work together to achieve the goal of finally consigning malaria to history.”
Robert B. Zoellick, President, World Bank Group
“There are clear economic opportunities that would result as a result of bringing malaria and other diseases under control. I believe that private capital flows to sub-Saharan Africa could increase to as much as US$100 billion a year over the coming years should there be an end to the deaths and lost economic opportunity caused by malaria. As the voice of global business, the ICC will do its part and examine ways our member companies can protect their employees and participate more proactively in the quest to end malaria deaths by 2015.”
Rajat K.Gupta, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce
“The results tell us that investment in malaria control is working. By continuing to commit resources to malaria, we can lift a heavy burden that has held African development back for so long. The payback will be enormous: another 3 million lives saved between now and 2015.”
Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization
SOURCE African Leaders Malaria Alliance