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Africa: Malaria

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his most recent estimate is of the incidence of malaria in Africa; and what steps (a) the UK and (b) international organisations plan to take to combat the disease. (204661)

[holding answer 9th May 2008]: According to the latest estimates there are up to 500 million cases of malaria globally, and at least one million deaths annually. Around 90 per cent. of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in young children. The UK Government's support for malaria control is provided through international organisations and partnerships, bilateral programmes and research.

In April the Prime Minister announced that the UK will provide 20 million insecticide treated bed nets which are vital for preventing malaria. This is one of the first pledges made to "Cover The Bed Net Gap" launched by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBMP) to rally donor countries, multilateral institutions, the private sector, and the general public to achieve the goal of universal bed net coverage by 2010. This new RBMP initiative is a direct response to the UN Secretary-General's call for universal coverage of malaria control in Africa by the end of 2010 to mark World Malaria Day on 25 April 2008.

The UK Government, through the Department for International Development (DFID) have committed £1 billion by 2015 to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. To date the fund has disbursed US$ 5.5 billion; 25 per cent. of which goes to malaria programmes. DFID also provides funding contributions to the WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank's International Development Association as well as the RBMP which plays a central role in helping countries develop and secure finance for national malaria plans. DFID supported UNITAID, the international drug purchase facility, with €20 million in 2007 to purchase drugs for anti-malarial treatments as well as for TB and HIV/AIDS. Our contribution will rise to €60 million by 2010. DFID has also contributed over £16 million for new drug development to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDI) and the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).