Uhuru, Commonwealth leaders take on malaria purge

21 April, 2018, 04:33 | Author: Darrell Lopez
  • Commonwealth leaders urged to halve malaria

"High-level political commitment to beat malaria were made by the heads of government and Ministers from 19 Commonwealth countries", said a Malaria Summit communique shared by the MSL Group. This would prevent 350 million cases and save 650,000 lives.

As part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this week, leaders the countries attended a Malaria Summit today that was cohosted by Rwanda, Swaziland, and the United Kingdom.

It said 15 Heads of State and Government from across the Commonwealth were to attend the Malaria Summit together with senior ministerial attendance and leaders from the world of business, science, civil society and global organisations.

The Malaria Summit London aims to highlight the stalled progress in fighting the disease, and "unite leaders of government, business, science, and the global health community to renew their commitment to beat malaria once and for all".

"It's a disease that is preventable, treatable and ultimately beatable, but progress against malaria is not inevitable", Gates said.

The Malawi president said though Malawi has employed a number of interventions to reduce malaria, there are gaps which need filling to ensure the country ends malaria by 2030.

The UK Government has said it will spend £500m a year on malaria over the next three years, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will extend its investments by an additional £700m until 2023. An experimental new vaccine, Mosquirix, is already being used to protect young children in selected areas of Africa, but developments take time and money - and global funding to combat malaria has plateaued.

Pharmaceutical firms GSK and Novartis also increased investment into malaria research and development - of 175 million pounds ($250 million) and $100 million dollars respectively.

"In Papua New Guinea, we thank the many partner countries, NGOs and the private sector, who have joined with us to fight malaria in our country and in other nations".

53 Commonwealth countries, mostly former British colonies, are disproportionately affected by malaria.

"I look forward to continuing our commitment to eliminate malaria from our country, from Melanesia, from the Pacific region and from the Commonwealth".

If recognized and treated properly, malaria is a curable disease. My message to leaders of malaria-affected countries is clear: this fight will only be won through your leadership.

It has a devastating impact upon the people, health systems and economies of these countries, and so the Commonwealth has a strong interest, and is uniquely placed, to lead the fight to defeat the disease.

The summit featured collective commitments worth over 4.1 billion dollars from governments, private sector, philanthropists and worldwide organisations.

Seventy days before CHOGM, David Beckham launched a public facing global campaign - Malaria Must Die, So Millions Will Live - backed by a wide coalition of organisations and celebrities, to help build a public mandate for renewed global and collective Commonwealth action to prioritise the fight against malaria, or risk undoing decades of unprecedented progress.


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