Momentum continues to build in the global fight against malaria. Just this week, a major increase in funding from the U.S. Senate, significant Global Fund commitments from France and Italy, and a strong statement from President Obama demonstrated that U.S. and global leaders remain committed to ending this deadly disease.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations approved $745 million for the President’s Malaria Initiative to fight malaria in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. This commitment to malaria in the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill represents a $71 million increase over the FY 2016 funding level. The bill also includes $1.35 billion for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. It now awaits consideration by the full Senate.
Also on Wednesday, in remarks to Canada’s House of Commons, President Barack Obama said: “With our commitment to new sustainable development goals, we have the chance to end the outrage of extreme poverty. We can banish the scourge of malaria.” This echoes the call to action that President Obama made both before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 and during his final State of the Union address in January.
“Malaria No More applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee and President Obama for prioritizing critical resources and keeping malaria high on the global agenda,” said Josh Blumenfeld, Managing Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at Malaria No More. “This is exactly the commitment and leadership that are needed to save thousands of lives, but we still have a long way to go.”
The world has made tremendous progress in the fight against malaria during the past 15 years. Since 2000, concerted global efforts have contributed to a 60 percent reduction in the rate of deaths from malaria and have saved 6.2 million lives. At the same time, malaria remains a leading cause of death and illness in half of the world’s population. Approximately 90 percent of malaria cases and deaths still occur in sub-Saharan Africa. In Southeast Asia, the specter of drug resistance remains a serious threat.
Earlier this week, the Government of France pledged $1.19 billion over the next three years to the Global Fund – a clear reflection of its commitment in the fight to end malaria. The Government of Italy pledged $144 million, which represents a 30 percent increase over its 2014-2016 contribution to the Global Fund.
“Such strong commitments from the U.S., France and Italy bring us closer to the attainable goal of raising $13 billion at the Global Fund Replenishment Conference in Montreal in September,” said Blumenfeld. “These critical resources will help cut malaria cases in Africa in half by 2020 – from nearly 250 million to less than 125 million – saving lives and ending the needless suffering of millions of people.”