British PM Gordon Brown Backs Malaria Campaign

Published: Tue 20 Nov 2007 09:15 AM
PM backs malaria campaign
Gordon Brown has offered his support to a campaign to combat malaria. Writing in The Sun newspaper, the PM said it was time to keep the promises made in the Millennium Development Goals and "kill the disease for good".
The Sun is running a campaign to supply bed nets, which can have a huge impact on cutting infection rates, to Nigeria. The PM said:
"Malaria is a killer. It claims the lives of more than one million people every year. That's nearly three thousand deaths every day. As well as tackling the spread of malaria, we must also try to kill the disease for good."
Mr Brown referred to a £1 billion commitment to fight malaria, HIV AIDS and TB announced by International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander on 25 September. As well as providing bed nets some of this money will be used to help underwrite production of a malaria vaccine, he said.
PM backs malaria campaign
19 November 2007
Malaria is a killer. It claims the lives of more than 1 million people every year. That's nearly three thousand deaths every day.
Or put another way malaria will have killed as many as half a dozen people by the time you've finished reading this article.
In Africa, one in five of the children who die before their fifth birthday are killed by the disease.
500 million people every year are also made severely ill by malaria and many require hospital treatment.
But Britain is at the forefront of the battle to stop this killer in its tracks.
It was British research backed by Government funding which helped develop revolutionary new bednets which can stop the mosquitoes who carry this deadly disease.
Research shows that where there are bednets, deaths from malaria can be almost halved.
For every 1,000 bednets the lives of seven children are saved.
Hospital admissions due to malaria are more than halved where there are nets.
So we have the weapons - now we need to get them to the frontline.
A few weeks ago International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander announced that we have committed £1 billion to fight malaria, AIDS and TB.
As well as providing more effective drugs to treat malaria, that cash will help get these vital bednets to some of the poorest people on earth in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria kills most.
Already Britain has distributed millions of bednets in countries like Kenya, Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania.
But we can and must do more. And in this battle we can all do our bit.
That is why I am glad to back the Sun readers' campaign to fight malaria.
This disease doesn't just pose a risk to the current generation. It holds future generations back.
Malaria costs Africa £6 billion each year through sickness and lost productivity. Malaria makes poor people poorer. It places a huge drain on precious limited resources.
And that helps keep Africa in the trap of poverty.
So as well as tackling the spread of malaria through bednets, we must also try and kill the disease for good.
Two years ago, I visited Mozambique where they were researching a potential vaccine against malaria, which latest tests show could reduce the risk of new infections in infants by around 65 per cent.
I vowed then that if this vaccine worked, we would underwrite the market for its mass production and we stand ready to do that alongside our other international partners.
This is what we are doing with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other partners for pneumococcal vaccine - to prevent the pneumonia related deaths that kill another million children under age five every year.
We can be proud that in the last ten years Britain has led the world in the effort to fight poverty and disease but we can always do more.
As a country we joined with our international partners in the Millennium Development Goals and made a promise to the world that we would reduce child mortality and fight diseases like malaria.
Those are promises we must keep.
We have gone a long way in the battle against malaria.
Now together we can win it.
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