PMI Statement on Initiative by Britain and Bill Gates to Fight Malaria

Jan 26, 2016 |

On Monday, the British government and Bill Gates pledged £3 billion pounds ($4.3 billion) to help end deaths from malaria in the next 15 years. The announcement builds on the  £1 billion Ross Fund announced by the U.K. government and the Gates Foundation in November – named after Sir Ronald Ross, the first-ever British Nobel Laureate who was recognized for his discovery that mosquitoes transmit malaria. The fund will support research and development for malaria and accelerate regional malaria elimination efforts.

The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative celebrates this incredible commitment and praises the United Kingdom and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for this major landmark in our fight against malaria, and for pioneering global health progress.

Although the global malaria community and most particularly malaria affected countries have not just met but exceeded ambitious malaria goals in the last decade, there is still a long way to go.  Malaria still exacts a terrible toll, taking the lives of children; endangering the pregnancies of mothers and the health of newborns; and keeping children out of school and parents out of work. It disproportionately affects the poor – particularly pregnant women and children in Africa – and traps families in a vicious cycle of disease and poverty.

For the first time, some African nations are on their way to eliminating malaria and fewer people on the continent are being infected than ever before. But the tenacity of malaria means we must develop new tools to stay ahead of an evolving parasite that is already showing signs of resistance to malaria medicines in the Mekong region of Asia, and widespread resistance to insecticides.  From vaccines and new drugs, to new insecticides and other vector control tools, we must harness innovation and expand research to sustain our efforts and for future success. Increased research and development into new tools is essential to arm malaria-affected countries with an effective arsenal to accelerate the pace towards elimination. 

Both the PMI Strategy 2015-2020 [PDF, 8.8MB] and the World Health Organization Global Technical Strategy highlight the need for research and innovation.

This significant new investment by the United Kingdom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will save and improve lives, reduce sickness, and spur the development of new tools. PMI looks forward to playing a key role in demonstrating the effectiveness, feasibility, and scalability of these new tools as they are demonstrated to be effective additions to the malaria control/elimination armamentarium.

The United Kingdom and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are key partners in global health and development, and major drivers to global success against malaria. Their leadership and steadfast commitment are noteworthy.

We are at a critical moment in the fight against the disease. With past investments, we have backed malaria into a corner. We are at a tipping point and must build on the progress achieved to create a malaria-free future and eliminate the threat of resurgence. 

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