Filling the US$3.6 billion gap for Africa alone needs strategic investments at all levels -
25 April 2013 Geneva, Addis, Japan: Today on World Malaria Day, Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, speaking on behalf of hundreds of organizations in the global health partnership fighting malaria, called on donors to fully replenish the Global Fund in 2013 and on endemic countries to increase their domestic contribution to malaria control and use their malaria funding wisely and strategically.
The RBM Partnership's Executive Director, Dr. Nafo-Traoré highlighted the World Malaria Day Theme "Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria" and urged audiences in Geneva, Addis Ababa and Tokyo to help fill the global malaria funding gap of approximately US$2.8 billion each year and make extraordinary efforts to meet the 2015 targets for rolling back malaria.
"Tremendous progress has been made over the past decade, including a reduction in the estimated global malaria deaths of over 25% and by 33% in Africa. But the recent global economic downturn has left funding gaps that threaten to reverse these gains, which could mean malaria's resurgence and untold misery for millions," said Dr. Nafo-Traoré. "Additional funding is needed, including international aid and domestic financing– but innovation, cost-efficiencies and economies of scale will also ensure existing funds go further and help mitigate any further decline in international development funding."
According to the World Malaria Report 2012, an estimated 219 million cases of the disease led to approximately 660,000 deaths in 2010, with 90% of all malaria deaths in Africa – the vast majority in children under five.
Estimated funding required for malaria control globally is just over US$5 billion per year, but available domestic and international funds amounts to less than half this need. Dr. Nafo-Traoré called on all partners to heighten their focus on Africa and to collectively consider smarter ways to invest resources to bring the entire continent closer to achieving the goal of universal coverage.
"With the global financial crisis influencing the flow of development assistance for health – and with some of the world's fastest-growing economies now being found in Africa and Asia – we can and must do more," said Dr. Nafo-Traoré. "Well targeted malaria financing is an investment in healthier, more equitable and affluent societies, and an investment in the future."
Malaria control interventions, considered among the most cost-effective, not only save lives but also accelerate progress in other health and development goals, including reducing school absenteeism, fighting poverty, and improving maternal and child health. New data suggests that for every US $1 invested in malaria in Africa, US$46 GDP is generated in return.
Bed-net programmes account for between 70 and 80% of total malaria spending. While mass distribution of bed-nets, often alongside mass immunization campaigns, is considered one the most cost effective delivery methods, it is thought that further cost-efficiencies could be created through smarter pooled purchasing and price negotiation. A malaria bond that invites social investors to back advance bed-net purchases will be launched in Mozambique later in the year, it is hoped to attract African investors.
Of the 54 African Union (AU) Member States, six have met or exceeded the Abuja target of 15% of national income for health, but many more have increased average domestic health allocations from 9% to 11%. Such investments, when allocated to Health System Strengthening as well as disease control like malaria, protect African people against a possible resurgence of the disease and loss of life, as well as shield African economies from the impact of malaria on continued growth.
About the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM)
The Roll Back malaria Partnership was founded by UNICEF, WHO, UNDP and the World Bank in 1998 as a global framework to coordinate global action against malaria. Today, RBM is a global public-private partnership made up of more than 500 organizations across sectors that provides a neutral platform for consensus-building, developing solutions to challenges in the implementation of malaria control interventions and strategies, promotes high-level political commitment to keep malaria at the top of the global agenda, and monitors progress towards universal goals.
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