World on ‘the brink’ of eliminating malaria deaths, says UN envoy

Ray Chambers, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria

19 September 2008 – Leading figures from government, business and civil society will meet next week in New York to highlight how close the world is to ending malaria deaths by the target date of 2015, a goal that the United Nations special envoy for the disease says is clearly within reach.

According to a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday, progress in malaria control has accelerated dramatically since 2006, particularly in the wake of the Secretary-General’s call for universal malaria control coverage by the end of 2010.

“If we accomplish the Secretary-General’s goal then we will be able to bring malaria deaths to near zero by 2015 at the latest,” Ray Chambers, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, said in an interview with the UN News Centre.

“I’m very optimistic that it will happen sooner than that. We’re on the brink of bringing it under control and eliminating deaths,” he stated, adding that funding, awareness-raising and partnerships, particularly to increase access to bed nets and medicines, have been key to the success achieved so far.

Mr. Chambers noted that an “unprecedented” amount of funding is being given to malaria, which kills about 3,000 children every day and claims one million lives every year.

“I believe we have the funding, and are likely to have the funding, to complete the Secretary-General’s call for universal coverage by the end of 2010,” he said.

On 25 September, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann are convening a high-level gathering to review progress to date, identify gaps and commit to concrete steps to ensure that all countries can achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Goals, with a target date of 2015, range from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and achieving universal primary education, to reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.

Mr. Chambers will be hosting a special event that day which will see the announcement of increased funding and additional partnerships to tackle malaria and help achieve the 2010 and 2015 goals.


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