The Government are committed to a significant increase in our support to help reduce the terrible scourge of over 800,000 known deaths from malaria each year—all of which are preventable. Research is essential to develop new drugs and tools and identify the best way to deliver them in a cost-effective way, and will play a part in our meeting this commitment as we increase our focus and activity on malaria.
In welcoming the Minister to his place at the Dispatch Box, may I offer my congratulations to the Secretary of State who got into the Conservative party manifesto a commitment to £500 million spending per year on malaria, which in particular includes research into a malaria vaccine? Does that commitment still stand, because it will gain support on both sides of the House?
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his kind remarks, and he is aware that we are committed to spending up to £500 million as he notes, in particular in relation to developing an effective malaria vaccine. Theoretically, there is a real hope of such a vaccine in the future, and we believe that vaccine research therefore plays in important part, but at the same time should not detract from the need to get better at delivering what we know works now. Work on a future vaccine will be focused on what will be capable of being safely delivered, accessible to the poor and with sufficient efficacy to be one of the key tools in the armoury that will continue to have to be used in the battle against malaria.
I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question. He will be aware that that issue is currently being considered, and we are looking at all the representations received not only to work towards a negotiation of the replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, but most importantly to build on the very good work that that fund, which is now the world’s largest health fund, has already demonstrated to date.