Your Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma (Sierra Leone),
Mr. Mizengo Pinda (Prime Minister, Tanzania),
Mr. Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister, U.K.),
Ms. Joy Phumaphi [pu-ma-pi] (Executive Secretary, African Leaders Malaria Alliance),
Mr. Bill Gates,
Mr. Robert Zoellick,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are here to celebrate our success in the fight against malaria ? and to plan our response for the challenges that remain.
We are witnessing an historic turnaround. Until recently, hopes for beating malaria had all but vanished. The situation was deteriorating.
Now, thanks to the dedication of those in this room and thousands of unsung heroes, Africa is being freed from one of its heaviest burdens –and one of the biggest obstacles to its development.
In a very short time, the world has gone from simply trying to hold malaria at bay, to the goal of delivering effective and affordable care to all who need it.
Two years ago, I called for malaria prevention and treatment programmes to be made universally available by the end of this year, and for an end to malaria deaths by the end of 2015.
These goals are within reach. I commend your commitment.
You are on course to achieve universal mosquito-net coverage for 700 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of this year. You are scaling up access to diagnostic tests, and to many kinds of prevention and treatment measures.
Our shared optimism is firmly rooted in results. Lives are being saved –in large numbers.
Countries that have provided bed nets and treatment have seen malaria cases –and deaths –fall by fifty per cent and more.
Preventing malaria, particularly in young children and pregnant women, is also helping to fight other illnesses. It is contributing to a sharp decline in deaths from all causes.
We have created a virtuous cycle.
Hospital beds and resources are being freed up to fight other illnesses. Children are staying in school. Workers are staying at work. More women are delivering healthy babies.
This progress is vital for meeting the MDGs on women's and children's health, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.
But let us also recognize that malaria is an ancient foe.
Progress is fragile, and we must remain vigilant. Past successes have been followed by a resurgence when gains are not maintained. We must break this cycle.
In particular, we must guard against the emergence of drug-resistant malaria parasites and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes.
To stay one step ahead, we must increase investment in research, develop new drugs and insecticides, and better diagnostics.
Ultimately, we need a malaria vaccine.
With new and improved tools, and with persistence, we will eradicate malaria for good.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The fight against malaria can only be won through the strong leadership of the countries where it is endemic, which is why I am proud to stand with the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
And –like all global campaigns –it relies on partnerships. Roll Back Malaria shows how strong public-private partnerships can deliver worldwide results.
Congratulations again. With the right commitment and resources, we can overcome global challenges ? even those, like malaria, that once seemed insurmountable.
Let us race to the finish line for universal coverage this year, and an end to malaria deaths by 2015.