By Asma’u Ahmad
Heads of States, global business leaders, philanthropists, scientists and civil society are convening in London, United Kingdom, to announce new and expanded commitments towards ending malaria.
A statement issued by Ready to Beat Malaria, an NGO, said the Summit was being co-hosted by the UK Government, and the Heads of State of Rwanda and Swaziland.
It said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria are the convening partners.
The statement said the commitments would be paired with a call to action, urging the commonwealth as a whole to commit to accelerating progress against malaria, the world’s oldest and deadliest disease.
It said the meeting would include a keynote address from The Prince of Wales and speeches from Bill Gates; Chimamanda Adichie; UK Government, and other global leaders from the public and private sectors.
The statement however noted that since 2,000, malaria deaths have been cut by 60 per cent, saving nearly seven million lives.
“This is unprecedented progress and mainly due to investment in low-cost solutions such as bed nets and insecticide spraying on a broad scale.
“Now, for the first time in fifteen years, progress towards ending the disease has stalled,’’ it said.
The statement said World Health Organisation’s most recent World Malaria Report confirmed cases and deaths are no longer falling.
It added that Malaria affected around 216 million people globally in 2016, an increase of five million cases over the previous year.
The statement enumerated few reasons responsible for the increase on the cases of malaria which includes acute malaria outbreaks in areas of war and conflict.
It added that other reasons were challenges on global funding for malaria, growing resistance prevention and treatment methods; climate and weather were becoming more favourable for the disease, among other reasons.
The statement said if leaders were ready to beat malaria the rewards were huge.
“By 2030, 10 million lives could be saved and an estimated $4 trillion in economic outputs would be generated,’’ it said.
It also urged governments of malaria affected countries to scale up proven malaria interventions and ensure that the governments are a core part of efforts to increase access to universal health care.