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War against malaria gets Sh381bn boost

by 18/04/2018 17:59:00 0 comments 1 Views
By ELIZABETH MERAB
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Renewed action and boosted funding to fight malaria could prevent 350 million cases of the disease in the next five years and save 650,000 lives across Commonwealth countries, health experts said on Wednesday.

To achieve this, philanthropists, business leaders and ministers from donor and malaria-affected countries pledged $3.8 billion (Sh381 billion) to drive research and innovation and improve access to malaria prevention and treatments.

The pledge was announced at the Malaria Summit London 2018 on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The initiative will specially be focused on children and pregnant women, who are most at risk being infected with malaria.

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Heads of state including President Uhuru Kenyatta and business leaders are convening in London to galvanise the fight against the disease amid resurgence in some regions.

The heads of 16 out of 53 Commonwealth countries attended a summit hosted by the governments of Rwanda, Swaziland and the UK.

Spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, the leaders warned against complacency in fighting the disease, which kills more than one million people, mainly children, every year.

“History has shown that with malaria there is no standing still — we move forward or risk resurgence.

"The commitments made today, from the UK, country leadership, and the private sector, show that the world is ready to beat malaria,” Mr Gates said.

Commonwealth and its citizens account for one-third of the world’s population, but more than half of all malaria cases and deaths globally.

“A commitment by leaders to halve malaria in the Commonwealth would help drive dramatic progress in the next five years, putting the world back on track to end malaria for good,” Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, board chair of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, said.

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