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Global Health and Business Leaders Announce 36-Month Effort to Expand Malaria Control in Africa; 3.5 Million Lives Could be Saved in Five Years, Study Finds
Date:1/25/2008

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- 3.5 million lives could be saved over the next five years through the rapid scale-up of malaria prevention and treatment measures in the 30 hardest hit countries in Africa, according to a new report released today at the World Economic Forum. Additionally, rapid scale-up would increase annual economic output by as much as $30 billion in Africa, prevent 672 million malaria cases, and free up 427,000 needed hospital beds over five years.

"We Can't Afford to Wait: The Business Case for Rapid Scale-up of Malaria Control in Africa," was prepared by Malaria No More and McKinsey & Company on behalf of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM). Providing specific cost and impact data as part of a rigorous business analysis, the report makes a compelling humanitarian and economic case for expanded access to proven malaria-control tools such as long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, life-saving anti-malarial medicines, and targeted insecticide spraying.

Current spending on malaria control in Africa is roughly $1 billion a year. The Malaria No More/McKinsey & Company report estimates that prevention and treatment measures could be brought to scale in the 30 African countries that together account for roughly 90 percent of global malaria deaths for approximately $2.2 billion a year over five years. This is an achievable and justifiable investment that would produce vastly superior results than the current trajectory, the report concludes.

Field studies show that as coverage levels rise, infection rates drop off more quickly, creating a situation of increasing returns. In comparison to the current projected growth in coverage, a rapid scale-up effort would save an additional two and a half million lives, prevent an additional 430 million malaria cases, and generate $20 billion more in annual GDP after five years. Rapid scale-up would also be far more cost-effective, saving twice as many lives for every one million dollars spent.

"We have the tools to tackle this deadly disease. We know what works because we've defeated malaria in other countries," said Rajat Gupta, chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the world's largest funder of malaria control programs. "This report shows that we can save millions of lives and make extraordinary progress in defeating malaria worldwide over the next five years."

In light of these findings, leaders in the fight against malaria, including Mr. Gupta, World Bank Group president Robert B. Zoellick, UNICEF executive director Ann Veneman, and Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck, executive director of the RBM Partnership, convened in Davos today to announce an expanded 36-month effort to achieve scale-up of malaria control across sub- Saharan Africa.

This accelerated effort will be coordinated through the RBM Implementation Support Team (or MIST), which will combine the best practices of public health with the best ideas from the private sector. Working through the MIST, partners will help malaria-endemic countries produce business plans for scale- up, coordinate technical assistance, promote economies of scale, link flexible private-sector investments to strategic planning and implementation, and utilize innovative financing options such as lines of credit and pooled purchasing.

"I am pleased to see the private sector playing such an active role in making the investment case to bring malaria under control today," said Professor Awa Coll-Seck, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. "With the launch of this effort, the RBM partnership reaffirms its commitment to halting malaria deaths in the short-term, paving the way for eradicating malaria from this planet altogether in the long-term."

Malaria imposes a crushing human and economic burden, especially in Africa. Despite being eliminated in the United States and other developed nations decades ago, the disease still kills one million people a year globally, mostly children and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa. A child dies every 30 seconds from malaria - 3, 000 children a day. Malaria also drains Africa of billions of dollars a year in health costs and lost productivity, trapping hundreds of millions of people in a cycle of extreme poverty and perpetual illness.

Coupled with expanded funding, malaria control measures are already enabling African countries to slash malaria incidence and deaths in the space of a few years. In Eritrea, malaria deaths have fallen 85% since 1999. Ethiopia has distributed nearly 20 million bed nets in three years, going from 5% bed net coverage to nearly 100% coverage today. Similarly striking results have been demonstrated in Zambia, Mali, Kenya, South Africa, and the Tanzanian islands of Zanzibar.

"We're making good progress, but now is the time to redouble our efforts through rapid scale-up," said Raymond G. Chambers, co-chairman of Malaria No More. "We lose at least 3,000 more children every day we delay. We simply can't afford to wait."

The full report can be downloaded at: http://www.malarianomore.org/businesscase

About the Report

The Malaria No More/McKinsey & Company report was created in consultation with more than 30 leading experts across key international anti-malaria partners, including the World Health Organization, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank, the United Nations Children's Fund, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a host of non-profit and academic institutions. The projections and cost estimates are based on an intervention approach (including prevention, treatment, and support) validated by leading technical experts at the WHO and elsewhere, and are consistent with the approach used in recent estimates by the WHO. Outcome estimates were generated based on a wide-ranging review of available data from country case examples and academic reports, and have been validated by our panel of disease experts.

About Malaria No More

Malaria No More's mission is simple: to end deaths due to malaria. Malaria No More works to raise the profile of the disease among the public, policymakers, and businesses, while engaging the private sector to provide life-saving bed nets and other critical interventions to families in Africa.

About the Roll Back Malaria Partnership

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

The Partnership now brings together governments of countries affected by malaria, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, non-governmental and community-based organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions around the common goal of halving the global burden of malaria by 2010.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Martin Edlund, Malaria No More

(917) 224-3563

martin.edlund@malarianomore.org


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SOURCE Malaria No More
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