from the Daily Monitor
by EVELYN LIRRI
With 300 people dying of malaria every day, Uganda is one of the countries that will benefit from a new $3bn Global Action Plan to reduce deaths from the disease to near zero by 2015.
The plan has been developed by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership with the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, contributing $1.62bn. World Bank is giving $1.1bn while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is injecting $168.7m to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative largely to carry out research for a possible vaccine.
The ambitious plan was endorsed by world leaders during the 2008 Millennium Development Goals - Malaria Summit on September 25. The summit was part of the high level meeting convened by the UN Secretary General-Ban Ki-Moon to renew commitments to achieving the MDGs by 2015.
According to a statement from the office of the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Malaria, full coverage of malaria interventions by 2010 can help save more than 4.2 million lives by 2015 and lay a foundation for a longer term effort to eradicate the disease.
The statement says that fully implementing the Global Malaria Action Plan will require $5.3bn in 2009 worldwide ($2.2bn for Africa) and $6.2bn worldwide in 2010 ($2.86bn for Africa) to expand malaria control programmes, and an additional $750-900m per year is needed for research on vaccines, drugs and other new tools.
In Uganda, statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that malaria is the leading killer especially among children under the age of five years and is largely responsible for the high poverty levels in the country.
This is largely because at least 25 percent of Ugandan households spend their income treating malaria. “The Global Malaria Action Plan is a milestone in the international response to malaria. We have had isolated accomplishments over the years, but this is the first time we have drawn together those experiences to produce guidelines to replicate success globally. Putting the plan into action must now become our number one priority,” said Prof. Awa Marie Coll-Seck, the Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
The plan largely focuses on rapidly scaling up access to bed nets, in door spraying, diagnosis and treatment, including preventive treatment for pregnant women, reducing the number of malaria deaths to near zero through continued universal coverage to anti malaria drugs and eventually discovering a way to eradicate malaria through a vaccine.
The plan provides a road map for malaria control that includes all endemic countries.
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