At the launch of the Pioneering Progress Exhibition in the UK Houses of Parliament this week, MPs and Peers came together to celebrate the UK’s leading role in the fight against malaria. Organised by the UK Malaria Advocates, of which Malaria Consortium is a member, the event presented an opportunity for parliamentarians and development partners to learn more about how the UK’s investment in innovation and global leadership is contributing to the fight against this deadly disease. The event also noted the crucial role that politicians have in keeping malaria high on the agenda for decision makers.
Since 2000, the lives of over three million children have been saved and the number of children dying from malaria has halved. Some 26 countries are on track to eliminate malaria and many more stand to join them if international efforts are increased.
These remarkable advances have been achieved through the UK’s support in the scaling up of existing interventions, such as indoor residual spraying and the distribution of insecticide treated nets, improving the use of high quality diagnostic tools, and increasing access to effective anti-malaria drugs. New interventions have also breathed life into these efforts, one notable example being seasonal malaria chemoprevention, where young children are given antimalarial treatments as a preventive measure during the malaria season in areas of high transmission.
However, this progress is under threat if political and financial support is not sustained. Without continued action, malaria will resurge and an entire decade of progress, costing millions of lives and billions of dollars will unravel. Innovation is crucial and new tools are needed. However, some key developments were highlighted during the event by speaker Sir Andrew Whitty, Chief Executive of GlaxoSmithKline, including:
- the possibility of the world’s first vaccine against malaria being approved in 2015
- a new single-dose cure possible for vivax malaria by 2017
- a ‘high throughput diagnostic’ to detect asymptomatic malaria for countries with elimination campaigns in 2018
- new resistance-beating insecticides available by 2022
Also speaking at the event, US Global Malaria Coordinator and Director of the President’s Malaria Initiative, Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, said: “We need to embrace what the UK government has achieved over the past few years. The most recent World Malaria Report would look a lot different without the sustained support from countries like the UK and US. We are here to celebrate, but now more than ever we keep our foot on the throttle.”
The UK Malaria Advocates is a group consisting of Malaria Consortium, Malaria No More UK, PATH, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, and Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC).
For further information about the event please contact: Michelle Davis, Senior Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org