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Billions of dollars funding gap likely to put at risk malaria control efforts

Dr. Alastair Robb

Around $6.5 billion is needed by 2020 to scale up intervention activities to ensure that malaria control targets and mortality and morbidity rates are kept down.

An additional $680 million investment is also needed for new fighting tools, and research and development to fight the disease, which is responsible for 435,000 deaths annually and the deaths of a child every two minutes.

Dr. Alastair Robb, a Senior Technical Officer for the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Programme, said the $6.5 billion is targeted at areas such as finding the right malaria treatment, protecting the vulnerable through the provision of treated bed nets, and ensuring that children who are ill with fever can get access to a trained health worker for care and support.

He was speaking in Geneva with a group of journalists from countries that have been tagged as carrying the highest malaria burden by shouldering about 73 per cent of the world’s malaria load.

The journalists are on a training programme organised by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, as part of a fellowship award.

Although, progress has been made in reducing the burden of malaria, this progress is said to be plateauing because of the rising number of cases in these countries: Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Dr Robb said these countries need a targeted response, political will, including a coordinated national response and adequate funding to meet the challenges of containing the disease.

He therefore urged the media to join in the social movement to hold governments accountable and also feed citizens with the right information to sustain the fight against malaria.

According to him, data and figures should be democratized to ensure that everything is open and people can analyse situations on the ground and make informed choices where issues are concerned.

He also touched on the need for more domestic funding and the mobilization of international resources to rein in malaria.

Dr Robb touched on the global goal of eliminating malaria by 90 per cent by 2030. Meanwhile, funding for this goal has stagnated, putting at risk the hard-earned progress made so far.

By Eunice Menka, in Geneva, Switzerland
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