There are an estimated 216 million cases of Malaria in the world today, and this year 655,000 people around the world will lose their lives to this infection. More alarmingly, 86% of these deaths occur among children under the age of five. So, as we mark World Malaria Day, I hope we can honor the memory of those we’ve lost by redoubling our efforts to achieve a Malaria-free generation.
Many dedicated partners — including the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), the Gates Foundation, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) -- have helped establish the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm), an innovative financing mechanism that helped significantly reduce the price of the most effective Malaria medicines, making them more affordable for more people who need them. We’ve also supported seven countries’ work on the AMFm program, reducing consumer prices for effective Malaria drugs (ACTs) by as much as 90%. In just the first year of our initiative, private and public buyers in those seven countries have ordered 140 million additional treatments—equal to nearly the entire global volume of the drugs in the previous year.
Despite significant progress, we’re far from done. We must expand efforts to achieve maximum value for money, especially during this time of global austerity, and we also must redouble our work to help countries most affected by Malaria to become increasingly self-sufficient in their fight against infections, including through exploring new innovative funding models. Models like PEPFAR, the Global Fund, and UNITAID can serve as guides in our efforts against the disease. And, even though $1.8 billion was made available last year, that figure is far short of the estimated $5 billion required to fully control the disease worldwide. We need to be more ambitious. Millions more need and deserve care, and it’s up to us – all of us – to ensure they receive it.