Progress on halting and reversing the spread of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa has not been sufficient and there is a high risk that the target under Millennium Development Goal 6 will be missed. However, there has been some significant progress in some African countries. In Eritrea, Rwanda and Sao Tome and Principe, deaths from malaria have been halved by following the recommended measures, including providing bed nets. Of the 647 million people at risk in Africa, the percentage protected by bed nets rose from 3 per cent. in 2001 to 26 per cent. in 2006.
Between 2000 and 2007 the Department for International Development (DFID) funded approximately 40 million bed nets worldwide (mostly for sub-Saharan Africa) and we estimate that these will have saved 660,000 lives. Over the course of 2008-11 we will provide at least 20 million bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa and it is estimated that these should save 330,000 lives.
Our support towards the provision of bed nets is usually part of a larger package of measures to improve health and to combat malaria, through a number of programmes and health sector approaches which include the purchase and distribution of bed nets. It is therefore difficult to disaggregate the costs of the bed nets alone. For example, we contribute to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) who estimate that they financed 120 million bed nets between 2001 and 2006, during which period we provided approximately 8.7 per cent. of GFATM financing.