Malaria Summit appeals to Commonwealth for help

Theresa May wants to help a million girls living in developing Commonwealth nations go to school for longer

Theresa May wants to help a million girls living in developing Commonwealth nations go to school for longer

Heads of state and business leaders at the Commonwealth summit have pledged more than $3.8bn to the fight against malaria.

"Collective action would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives across the Commonwealth".

The malaria summit was created to coincide with a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this week.

"The commitments made today, from the United Kingdom, country leadership, and the private sector, show that the world is ready to beat malaria", Mr Gates said.

The Prime Minister will pledge cash with the aim of helping children spend 12 years in school when she gives a speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on Tuesday.

Also, Uganda committed to establish a malaria fund to mobilize $785 million by 2020 to speed up its progress against the disease, according to a press release from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. "If we don't maintain the commitments that we are making here today, malaria would go back and kill over a million children a year, because the drugs and the insecticides always are evaded by the mosquito and the parasite". An experimental new vaccine, Mosquirix, is already being used to protect young children in selected areas of Africa, but developments take time and money - and global funding to combat malaria has plateaued.

"Thousands of scientists from more than 70 countries. will gather to share the latest research in the fight against malaria and discuss best practices moving forward to end the epidemic for good", said the organisers of the London summit, ahead of that gathering.

The organisations say in a news release that in 2016, for the first time in a decade, "the number of malaria cases in the world was on the rise and in some areas there is a resurgence".

His statement was reiterated by Pedro Alonso, director of the World Health Organization global malaria programme.

It enumerated the areas of focus to include increased funding and political leadership, accelerating innovation and better data driven solutions. "We move forward or we risk resurgence".

Specifically, it said the investment is created to advance the company's malaria product pipeline through 2023 and to complete global clinical trials for two new antimalarial drug candidates, KAF156 and KAE609, which are now in phase 2 studies. "We will support and incentivise others to invest in what is needed, from cutting edge research to ensuring access to malaria treatment and prevention for those most at risk". Ninety percent of people in the Commonwealth live in countries with malaria.

Vas Narasimhan, chief executive officer of Novartis, said, "Resistance to treatment presents the biggest threat to the incredible progress that has been made in the fight against malaria in the past 20 years".

A commitment by leaders to halve malaria in the Commonwealth would help drive dramatic progress in the next five years, putting the world back on track to end malaria for good.

Two major malaria conferences under way this week-one in London and the other in Senegal-brought new pledges of almost $4 billion to curb the disease and new research on factors that are driving disease levels, such as conditions in conflict zones and contaminated blood supplies.

For full details of what can be expected at the summit, see the organisers' press release.

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