Just ahead of Africa Malaria Day, marked each year on 25 April, the United Nations-backed Roll Back Malaria Partnership today announced that it has set ambitious new targets to attain funding to fight the disease in Africa.
The group hopes that half of all malaria grant applications worldwide and 80 per cent in African countries, where over 90 per cent of the 1 million global malaria deaths yearly occur, receive the necessary funding.
In many African countries, malaria is the leading cause of death, with one child dying from the disease every 30 seconds.
The Partnership was created in 1998 by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. It now brings together governments affected by malaria, international development agencies, academic institutions and others aiming toward the common goal of halving the global malaria rate by 2010.
Every year, grants are awarded, mostly by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to countries based on an assessment of the technical needs of the programmes requesting support.
Over six years, the Fund, a UN-backed international public/private partnership which is the world’s largest donor in curbing malaria, has approved grants totally $2.6 billion.
However, in the latest round of assessments last November, less than a third of all applications were deemed to be of sufficient quality to receive support.
“This is the first phase of a massive initiative both to ensure sustained funding and improve countries’ ability to achieve impact,” said Awa Marie Coll Seck, the Partnership’s Executive Director.
“Success breeds success,” she continued. “We all need to make the money work better and achieve results if we are to secure predictable funding and meet ambitions malaria control targets over the next three years.”
Anti-malarial medicines are crucial in the fight, alongside other measures such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying.
The first-ever Africa Malaria Day was on 25 April 2000, when African leaders from 44 malaria-affected countries gathered in Abuja, Nigeria, for the African Summit on Malaria. At the summit, the first of its kind on the continent, participants signed the historic Abuja Declaration which commits Governments to fighting the disease with a view to halve it by 2010.