Fighting Malaria Increases Economic Progress, Secretary-General Tells Leaders, Calling for Greater Funding of Health Interventions

3 April 2014
SG/SM/15747-AFR/2848-DEV/3075

Fighting Malaria Increases Economic Progress, Secretary-General Tells Leaders, Calling for Greater Funding of Health Interventions

3 April 2014
Secretary-General
SG/SM/15747 AFR/2848 DEV/3075
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Fighting Malaria Increases Economic Progress, Secretary-General Tells

Leaders, Calling for Greater Funding of Health Interventions

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Roll Back Malaria-African Union Breakfast on Health in the Broader Development and Post-2015 Agenda, in Brussels today:

Merci, Madame Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Ambassadrice de bonne volonté pour le projet « Faire reculer le paludisme », et Monsieur Hervé Verhoosel, représentant du Partenariat Faire reculer le paludisme.

Madame Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Présidente de la République du Libéria,

Monsieur John Dramani Mahama, Président du Ghana,

Monsieur Armando Guebuza, Président du Mozambique

et Président de l’Alliance des dirigeants africains contre le paludisme,

Madame Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Présidente de la Commission de l’Union africaine,

Madame Nafo-Traoré, Directrice exécutive du Partenariat Faire reculer le paludisme,

Mesdames et Messieurs,

C’est pour moi un plaisir que d’être ici, en compagnie d’éminents dirigeants d’Afrique et d’Europe. Je remercie la Commission de l’Union africaine et le Partenariat Faire reculer le paludisme de nous avoir ainsi réunis.

It is often said that health is the greatest wealth.  We also should remember that individual health can generate national wealth.  Healthy communities create more vibrant, inclusive societies that allow people and economies to thrive.  Malaria clearly illustrates this.

Since the Millennium Development Goals were launched, we have seen proof that fighting malaria is a good investment that saves lives and speeds up economic progress.  In a 12-year period, larger-scale malaria interventions saved 3.3 million lives — 90 per cent of them children.  I applaud the partners who made this possible.  That is the driving philosophy behind our Every w oman, every child global campaign.  By saving women and children, we can accelerate progress across the development agenda.

Now is a critical time.  We are fast approaching the 2015 deadline for reaching the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals).  We are also looking beyond that year to shape our vision for the long-term development agenda.  We can achieve great results by drawing on the valuable lessons we have learned — including the critical importance of keeping investments in health high on the international development agenda.

Funding for malaria control reached $2.5 billion in 2012.  That is an impressive number — but it is only about half of the more than $5 billion we need to reach all people.  As one WHO (World Health Organization) official put it, this “half” amount can be seen as a glass half full or half empty.  We would all prefer to see the glass half full.  But for too many people, the glass is half empty.  This is true for parents who have no nets to cover their children and patients who cannot get treatment.  It is also true for the displaced families who run from conflict after so much loss — and then have to struggle against malaria as well.

These are not theoretical examples.  As we meet, the crisis in the Central African Republic is leaving more and more people exposed to malaria and other illnesses.  Even before the fighting, the Central African Republic was the sixth most dangerous place in the world for children in terms of their risk of dying before age 5.  Since then, fighting and fear destroyed the health system.  Eight out of every ten refugees arriving in Cameroon are affected by malaria and other diseases.

Health is also a problem in other insecure areas, including South Sudan.  And even in secure parts of Africa, where Governments are strong and societies are at peace, hundreds of thousands of people fall ill and die from preventable diseases every year.

To “fill the glass” so it is no longer empty for some, we need to sustain international and domestic funding.  I applaud my Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs, Ray Chambers, for leading our international campaign on this front.  And I am deeply grateful to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership for successfully coordinating our global efforts.

We need to ensure that Governments, bilateral and multilateral donors, and private sector contributors increase their levels of funding to support all needed efforts to address malaria around the world.  I call on all partners to contribute to health interventions now that will save costs and lives in the future.

I am honoured to share the podium with Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  She is a star for many reasons — her beautiful voice and her stage presence.  But to me, her star shines brightest as a great humanitarian and a defender of human rights.  Yvonne Chaka Chaka grew up under apartheid.  She saw the end to that racist regime.  Now she is fighting for a time when there is a new kind of freedom — an Africa free of malaria deaths.  Let us work together to realize this vision.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.