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Malaria community applauds Clinton $1 billion a year pledge; invites other candidates to make malaria commitments

Press release

Addis Ababa - Thursday 29, November 2007: U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today pledged to expand the U.S. government commitment to malaria to US$1 billion a year if elected, setting the goal of ending malaria-related deaths in Africa by the end of her second term. The campaign said this funding would be in addition to U.S. government support of malaria control through the World Bank and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, which finances the majority of malaria control efforts around the world.

Health ministers, heads of agencies, and other leaders in the global fight against malaria gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week for the 13th Roll Back Malaria Board Meeting reacted to the news.

"The Roll Back Malaria Partnership applauds Hillary Clinton's bold commitment to fight malaria," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister of Health of Ethiopia and Chair of the RBM Partnership Board. "This week's meeting has been all about planning for the aggressive scale up of malaria control and Sen. Clinton’s pledge is evidence of growing support for that effort."

"With powerful new tools, effective models for control, and expanded financial resources, we are poised to win the fight against malaria," said Dr Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. "$1 billion a year from the U.S. government will contribute significantly toward ending malaria deaths in Africa."

"It's encouraging to see a leading U.S. presidential candidate step out with such a bold commitment on malaria," said Rajat Gupta, Chairman of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. "We have the opportunity to eliminate malaria as a global health concern but we'll need continued American leadership to do it."

"All the pieces are falling into place to end malaria deaths in Africa," said Ray Chambers, co-Chairman of Malaria No More. "We have the knowledge, the tools, and increasingly the political will to stop millions of children dying needlessly."

Senator Clinton's pledge comes amidst significant recent progress in the fight against malaria. Donor country funding for malaria control has grown approximately 300% in the last three years to more than $1 billion a year. Malaria-endemic countries across sub-Saharan Africa - including Tanzania, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Namibia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea - are rapidly scaling up malaria control measures and achieving appreciable gains in reducing malaria incidence and deaths.

Malaria poses one of the greatest threats to human life in the developing world. Of the estimated 1 million malaria deaths worldwide, 90% occur in Africa, killing mostly young children at a rate of 3,000 every day. Currently, in countries with a very heavy malaria burden, the disease can account for as much as 40% of public health expenditure, 50% of inpatient admissions and up to 60% of outpatient visits.

"In addition to the tragic human cost, malaria poses an unacceptable economic toll on Africa, robbing the continent of $12 billion a year in lost productivity and other costs," said Dr. Maryse Pierre-Louis, coordinator of the World Bank's malaria control efforts in Africa. "For the first time, multiple African countries are slashing deaths and illness from malaria; this is the moment to strike a decisive blow against this disease."

The 13th Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board Meeting follows closely on the heels of the Gates Malaria Forum in Seattle last month where an ambitious challenge was issued to build on recent successes and aim for eventual eradication of malaria. Bill Gates also called on U.S. presidential candidates to extend the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative.

"We invite all the U.S. presidential candidates to make their own pledges on this vitally important issue," said Dr. Coll-Seck of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership

.

Partners participating in the RBM Board include: Ethiopia, Cambodia, Mali, Uganda, Zambia, Cameroon, Nigeria, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, WHO, France, Netherlands, United States of America, Earth Institute, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Southern NGOs - SFH Nigeria and Zambia Malaria Foundation, Northern NGOs - Johns Hopkins Global Program on Malaria, Malaria Consortium, Glaxo Smith Kline, Novartis, Exxonmobil Corporation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, United Nations Foundation, The Global Fund.

Special guests attending the RBM Board : Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General; Mr Jorge Bermudez, UNITAID Executive Secretary; Mr Ray Chambers, Co Chair, Malaria No More.

For further information please call:

Prudence Smith RBM + 41 79 477 1744
Hervé Verhoosel RBM + 251 (0)913428361 (local number during the meeting) or via + 41 22 791 5518
US Contact: Martin Edlund, Malaria No More (917) 224 3563

To provide a coordinated global approach to fighting malaria, the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership was launched in 1998 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

The RBM Partnership has expanded exponentially since its launch and is now made up of a wide range of partners - including malaria-endemic countries, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions - who bring a formidable assembly of expertise, infrastructure and funds into the fight against the disease.