Why Commonwealth nations are pumping money into fight against malaria

Nduta Waweru April 18, 2018
U.S. Army medical researchers take part in World Malaria Day 2010, Kisumu [Photo: US Army Africa/Flickr]

Heads of state and business leaders at the Commonwealth summit have pledged more than $3.8bn to the fight against malaria.

This comes after reports that the rate of malaria is no longer declining. According to the World Health Organisation’s World Malaria Report 2017, only 1000 deaths were prevented in 2016.

“In 2016, there were an estimated 445 000 deaths from malaria globally, compared to 446 000 estimated deaths in 2015.” -WHO

There have been concerns over the resurgence of the disease in various countries, most of which are members of the Commonwealth.

The leaders, led by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, warned against the complacency in dealing with the disease.

“History has shown that with malaria there is no standing still – we move forward or risk resurgence,”  Gates, who pledged an extra $1 billion until 2023 to fund malaria research and development to try to end malaria for good, said before the meeting.

His statement was reiterated by Pedro Alonso, director of the World Health Organization global malaria programme.

“History has taught us well that when we lift our foot from the accelerator malaria comes back with a vengeance. We must take a decisive leap forward or we risk going backwards and we have seen that already happening in a number of countries,” he told the Guardian.

There are quite a number of initiatives on fighting malaria, with the most recent from Senegal. The initiative, an early detection kit developed by Ndiaye Daouda detects the tiniest amount of parasite in the blood, reports Aljazeera.

In Uganda, a Josiah Kavuma, and a team of young Ugandan engineers developed Matibabu,  a system that diagnoses malaria quickly without taking blood.

In 2017, the WHO announced malaria vaccine trials in Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya and in 2016, Tanzania set up new technology to combat the disease.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: April 18, 2018


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