What Will It Take to #EndMalaria for Good?

25/04/2016 08:44

Let's fast-forward to 2030... malaria deaths are down 90%, 10million lives have been saved, 3billion cases of malaria have been averted, and $4trillion has pumped back into economies; we are on track to be THE generation to end malaria.

It's true that back in 2000, this would have been a pipe dream. But now, thanks to a phenomenal global malaria campaign this projection for 2030 seems more and more likely to become a reality.

Just over 15 years ago malaria, a disease that costs less than £1 to treat, was the leading cause of death of children in Sub-Saharan Africa - accounting for 22% of deaths in under 5 year olds. As a father I struggle to comprehend the number of parents that have been denied the opportunity to see their child grow up.


Now on this World Malaria Day we are working amidst a vastly different malaria landscape - one in which malaria deaths have been cut by an astronomical 60% and more than 6million lives saved since 2000.

UK leadership has been pivotal to this success to date. I can't imagine that back on World Malaria Day 2000 any organisation would have contemplated holding an event in parliament with the theme 'Ending Malaria'. Back then the malaria campaign was light years away from the concept of ending malaria for good. Yet that is where I will be today, hosting an event in parliament marking the huge number of lives saved, and bearing testament to the mission-critical role of UK commitment and innovation in the malaria fight.

So what's behind this success? It's a combination of front-line attack; improved access to mosquito nets, tests and lifesaving treatment, and determined R&D. The latter particularly in the UK where scientists are developing cutting edge technologies and treatments to tackle resistance, find new treatments and other tactics to beat this disease. We can be so proud of UK leadership in the malaria fight - we have scientists, businesses, parliamentarians, the British public and philanthropists coming together to tackle this ancient killer, saving lives now and creating a safer, healthier world for us all.

The global malaria campaign has clear and concrete plans for how we will get the job done. Now what we need are the resources to get us there and end malaria for good. And I'm not the only one who believes a malaria free world is possible. Earlier this year UK Chancellor George Osborne and Bill Gates teamed up to pledge their support to ending this destructive disease. Two world leaders coming together to share this message - the next stretch is tough. It's going to take hard work and commitment, but it's achievable, and we cannot let up now.

Another critical partner helping to make malaria no more is The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria which distributes over half of international funding for fighting malaria. This truly 21st Century partnership of the public and private sector has made the malaria campaign so much more efficient, and has delivered success on a massive scale - 548million mosquito nets distributed, 17million lives saved. With full funding in this year's critical replenishment, a further eight million lives will be saved, and up to 300million infections and new cases of HIV, TB and malaria averted, laying the groundwork for potential economic gains of up to $290billion in the years ahead. We can be proud that the UK is expected to make a critical contribution during such an important year.

But it will take more than political will to end this disease; the whole spectrum of society needs to be involved including business. That's why this World Malaria Day I'm thrilled that Fever-Tree are supporting our work to end malaria. The natural premium mixer brand are raising money with special collars on a limited number of bottles of their award winning tonic waters; 10p from every bottle sold will be donated to our work to save lives from malaria. And to put the cherry on the cake, they are also hosting a Pop-Up G&T Bar for one day only on Wednesday 27 April in London at Broadgate's Finsbury Avenue Square by Liverpool Street Station - all money donated to Malaria No More UK. We hope to see you there!

The need to end malaria for good is as important as ever when half of the world's population is at risk and a child dies from this preventable disease every two minutes. How can we let up when life-saving treatment for each of those children costs less than a cup of coffee? Together we can #EndMalaria.