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Malaria: Commonwealth countries converge

In 2016, for the first time in a decade, the number of malaria cases was on the rise and in some areas there was a resurgence. Photo: Planet Science

Health experts say renewed action and boosted funding to fight malaria could save 650,000 lives across commonwealth countries and prevent 350 million cases of the disease in the next five years.

Headed by the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates, the leaders warned against complacency in fighting malaria, a disease which kills around half a million people, mainly babies and young children, each year.

According to the WHO, while enormous progress has been made over the past 20 years in reducing malaria cases and deaths.

Bill Gates’s multi-billion dollar philanthropic fund, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is co-convening the summit, pledged an extra one billion dollars through to 2023 to fund malaria research and development.

The malaria summit was designed to coincide with a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, CHOGM, in London this week.

The 53 Commonwealth countries, mostly former British colonies, are disproportionately affected by malaria – accounting for more than half of global cases and deaths.

Among new funding and research commitments announced at the summit, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria said two billion dollars would be invested in 46 countries affected by malaria between 2018-20.

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