$4 Billion Pledged by UK and Bill Gates to Fight Malaria
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and American Billionaire, Bill Gates, joined hands to fund $4.3 billion fight against malaria for the next 15 years. According to a London based Times Newspaper, the two released a joint statement "when it comes to human tragedy, no creature comes close to the devastation caused by the mosquito". "We both believe that a malaria-free world has to be one of the highest global health priorities," they added. UK made a pledge of $715 million annually for the next 5-years and Bill and Melinda Gates foundation will pay $200 Million dollars this year towards this noble cause, reported Newsweek. This fund will be directed towards malaria research and also assist local programs to help fight the disease.
According to the World Health Organization, about 3.2 billion people are at risk of malaria, mostly in Sub- Saharan Africa. However, between 2000 and 2015, the malaria cases fell by 37% globally with death rate falling by 60% all over the world, among all age groups and 65% among children less than 5-years. Even then, there were 214 million cases of malaria reported in 2015 that led to 438,000 deaths, out of which 91% occurred in the Sub-Saharan Africa.
A new fund called Ross Fund is launched by Osborne and Gates that has been named after a British scientist, Sir Ronald Ross, who also won a Nobel Prize in 1902 for proving the role of mosquitoes in spreading Malaria. Writing in The Times, the duo hoped that within decades, malaria should be wiped out from the face of the earth. "We are optimistic that in our lifetimes we can eradicate malaria and other deadly tropical diseases, and confront emerging threats, making the world a safer place for all," said Osborne and Gates.