Malaria: a persistent health threat that we must face head on
On World Malaria Day, Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health & Food Safety and Carlos Moedas, EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation highlight a persistent global health threat that must not be forgotten.
On the occasion of the World Malaria Day, we would like to take the opportunity to urge continued global action to address the persistent threat of Malaria. We have the responsibility to continue tackling it head on - it is one of the deadliest diseases, killing more than 660 000 people a year.
In 2013 alone, over half a million people died of malaria. More than 90 percent of these deaths are in Africa, mostly children under the age of five. Sub-Saharan Africa is the hardest hit region, accounting for the greatest majority of the cases, a situation which is aggravated by the weakness of health systems.
As the world's largest donor, the EU is strongly committed to the fight against malaria. Over the last years, public health services in over 30 countries have been directly supported by the EU with more than €300 million annually.
The EU is also a major donor to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (29% of their work covers malaria) with over €1.1 billion of total funding provided. Since 2002, the Global Fund has supported more than 150 countries, providing 310 million nets treated with insecticide to put over people's beds to prevent infections.
The EU is also one of the top 5 funders of malaria research in the world. Since 2002, the EU has invested nearly €200 million in malaria research projects, and another €50 million since 2003 on clinical trials to develop vaccines and improve treatments for malaria.
Thanks to the efforts of the EU and international community, as well as governments and health care providers in endemic countries, malaria deaths have fallen by 25% since the year 2000.
However, the number of deaths from malaria remains shockingly high. We need to persist in the fight against this deadly disease and reassert our long-term commitment. The EU must continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the governments of the most affected countries. We must maximise our political, diplomatic, humanitarian and financial tools to help the millions of people living in highly endemic areas to make sure they have access to effective malaria prevention, diagnostic testing, and treatment.
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