We are at a pivotal moment in the fight against malaria. Having achieved Millennium Development Goal 6—to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria—advances in treatment and prevention, along with rigorous planning and goal-setting by countries and key implementing partners, has positioned the global community to end the malaria pandemic within a generation.
Malaria deaths have fallen dramatically–saving nearly 7 million lives and averting over 700 million cases of the disease since 2000, but our hard-won gains are at stake if we do not reignite leadership and redouble our efforts. Malaria still kills about one child every two minutes and nearly half of the world’s population remains at risk of malaria, a preventable and curable disease.
The World Health Organization’s 2017 World Malaria Report showed a flattening of progress and plateaued funding levels. Now more than ever, we need governments, civil society, the private sector and other malaria stakeholders to rise to the challenge to ensure continued progress towards malaria eradication.
Laying out a vision for achieving eradication, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Ray Chambers and Bill Gates, co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, published From Aspiration to Action: What Will It Take to End Malaria?, drawing on important lessons from past eradication efforts and positing innovative new strategies, tools and financing. The returns of achieving eradication of the disease yields the potential of saving 11 million lives and unlocking $2 trillion in economic benefits.
Continued progress will require adequate financing and effective implementation of proven interventions for prevention, diagnostics, and treatment, as well as support for research and development to bring new tools to market. To achieve these results, it is critical that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria realizes full replenishment and that malaria receives the necessary distribution of the Global Fund’s assets at the country level. Additionally, other donors such as the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the U.K.’s Department for International Development (DFID) must continue their increased levels of support for malaria.
In 2017, to support the malaria efforts, Ray Chambers and Bill Gates brought together influential public sector and business leaders committed to advancing the global malaria agenda to establish the End Malaria Council (EMC). The Council is focused on driving progress towards malaria eradication by focusing on leadership, financing, and new technology. The End Malaria Council has already seen its first success story with the recent announcement at the World Economic Forum of the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative (RMEI) which will provide more than $180 million to close the financial and technical gaps in eight countries in Central America and the Caribbean. The initiative was first introduced during the 2017 World Economic Forum at the inaugural meeting of the End Malaria Council by EMC member and President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno. The Council will continue to look for additional opportunities where their leadership can make an impact.
The UN Special Envoy’s Office will support efforts of its partners to keep malaria high on the development agenda and ensure our collective path toward ending malaria. These partners include: country governments, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria; the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) and their malaria scorecard; the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA); Malaria No More, and Malaria No More UK, among others.