African leaders and global health experts rallied at the United Nations today to boost access to life-saving bednets and medicines as part of the fight against malaria, aiming to reach the goal of near-zero deaths by 2015.
“Partnership is absolutely essential to making progress against malaria, and Africa’s heads of State are fully committed to achieving victory against malaria in the next decade,” stated Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda of Tanzania, speaking on behalf of President Jakaya Kikwete – the current chair of ALMA. “We owe our children nothing less.”
A UN Headquarters event on “Bridging the Malaria Gap” brought together members of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) – a coalition of 35 heads of State committed to working together to end malaria in Africa, where the disease claims more than 850,000 lives each year – as well as prominent figures in the fields of global health and development.
The Secretary-General has set the goal of providing life-saving malaria control interventions to the 700 million people at risk of the disease in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2010. African leaders announced several efforts to help achieve this goal, including eliminating taxes and tariffs on bednets, medicines and other life-saving products; banning artemisinin monotherapies that increase disease resistance; and enhancing Africa’s capacity to produce safe and effective anti-malaria products.
Providing bednets to everyone living in malaria-endemic countries by the end of this year has been deemed the most effective way to reach the goal of zero or near-zero deaths by 2015 and ending a scourge that results in an estimated 1 million deaths worldwide every year.