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.
Global investment in malaria in recent years has grown exponentially – from just $130 million in 2000 to $2.7 billion in 2013. These resources have fundamentally transformed the fight against the disease. Malaria deaths have fallen dramatically–saving an estimated 6.2 million lives and averting 663 million cases of the disease since 2000–and more than half of the world’s nations are now malaria free. These gains have accounted for 20% of the total progress that the world has made in reducing maternal and child mortality under the Millennium Development Goals.
However, one billion people remain infected with the malaria parasite, and half of the world’s children remain vulnerable to death and disability caused by the disease. Malaria still kills about one child every two minutes. Eradication is the only feasible solution to this challenge. The alternative– controlling the disease forever without eliminating it – is biologically and politically untenable.
Laying out a vision for achieving eradication, UN Special Envoy Ray Chambers and Bill Gates 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—and calling for a World Health Assembly declaration on malaria eradication by 2020. 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 existing prevention and control measures, 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.
The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) will continue to play an important role in the reduction of malaria deaths through its leadership and ALMA Scorecard to (a) drive continued political commitment to Malaria, (b) monitor progress across key indicators that affect the financing procurement, delivery and utilization of LLINs and IRS and (c) respond to potential/emerging challenges, such as the need to ensure continued delivery of ACTs through the private sector.*link to website
The UN Special Envoy’s Office will support the efforts of its partners across the malaria community, including ALMA, the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) and Malaria No More, and country governments to ensure our collective path toward malaria eradication.