Bill Gates warns Commonwealth leaders the fight against malaria could 'go backwards'

The malaria parasite

The Global Malaria Community has urged Commonwealth leaders to make a game-changing commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth within the next five years.

The call is expected to profile significant commitments from governments, businesses and philanthropists ready to catalyse progress towards a goal of halving malaria.

It added that the commitments would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives, predominately children and pregnant women who were most at risk. The commitments made today, from the United Kingdom, country leadership and the private sector, show that the world is ready to beat malaria.

Malaria is a major health issue for the Commonwealth, with 90% of Commonwealth citizens living in affected countries.

"In 2016, for the first time in a decade, the number of malaria cases in the world was on the rise and in some areas there is a resurgence according to the World Health Organisation". The Malaria Summit is being held to galvanise renewed action on the disease as progress has stalled. "If we don't maintain the commitments that we are making here today, malaria would go back and kill over a million children a year, because the drugs and the insecticides always are evaded by the mosquito and the parasite".

Bill Gates is pumping even more money into the fight against malaria.

The UK is also committing £9.2 million of research funding to develop two new safe and effective malaria treatments.

Today the Prime Minister supported the pledge to halve malaria in the next five years and re-affirmed the government's commitment in 2016 to spend £500 million a year on malaria for five years. As part of this, the United Kingdom announced a further £100 million match fund commitment to the Global Fund to match new contributions from private donors pound for pound.

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His multi-billion dollar philanthropic fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is co-convening the summit, pledged an extra US$1 billion (RM3.9 billion) until 2023 to fund malaria research and development to try to end malaria for good.

Novartis will also invest more than $100 million through 2023 to advance research and development of next-generation treatments to combat emerging anti-malarial drug resistance including global clinical trials for its two new malaria drug candidates.

This money will support the Global Fund's work in priority countries.

It enumerated the areas of focus to include increased funding and political leadership, accelerating innovation and better data driven solutions.

The UK has announced further support for the fight against malaria to save more than 120,000 lives ahead of a Malaria Summit tomorrow with Commonwealth leaders. "We are now on a cliff edge - continue to battle the disease or risk an acute and deadly resurgence". We are the second largest worldwide funder in the world and invest in treatment, prevention and research, including fighting against the threat of drug resistance. "And we, as a Commonwealth, have a particular duty to tackle it".

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates has said his foundation and other donors will be announcing almost $4bn (£2.8bn) of new funding aimed at halving the number of deaths from malaria.

As part of our £500m a year commitment on malaria, today we are announcing a £100 million investment in malaria.

In this light, Uganda has committed to establish a dedicated malaria fund - the Presidential Malaria Fund Uganda (PMFU) - to help mobilize additional resources of $785 million by 2020 to accelerate national progress against malaria.

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