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Malaria

Volume 542: debated on Wednesday 14 March 2012

The UK Government are committed to helping halve malaria deaths in at least 10 of the worst affected countries by 2015. We will achieve that through support to country programmes and through multilateral channels. I recently visited Kenya, a country where DFID has provided 20 million bed nets. Those nets have played a part in the 40% reduction in child deaths over the past five years.

I thank the Minister for that reply. Will he consider a discrete programme to support malaria treatment in a hospital in Kaesong in north Korea, where a remarkable South Korean doctor, Dr Kim—who spoke in Westminster recently—and his team attend the medical needs of thousands of North Koreans and have identified malaria as one of their most pressing problems?

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State also had the opportunity to meet the doctor and admire the great work that is being done. It is right that our methodology for support should be through our investment in the various multilateral organisations, such as the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. Working in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on that basis represents the best way to help the people of that republic.

Many faith-based groups are doing excellent work on the continent of Africa. Will the Minister assure the House that those faith-based groups that carry out excellent work in education and in treating malaria can be of assistance in trying to combat its spread?

Not only could such groups be of assistance, but they already are of great assistance. There are many examples of faith-based groups and others that are helping and complementing the national malaria control programmes and many of the large international programmes. We have set up a group in our Department to work with the Synod to consider precisely what more can be done and how that assistance and complementary activity can be more effective.

One of the key players in eradicating malaria is the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Will the Government consider calling an emergency replenishment conference to increase the funds for that organisation so that it can work further and faster towards eradicating the diseases, saving money in the long run on treatment?

The hon. Gentleman makes a valid point. The global health fund is making a significant contribution to the eradication of malaria over time as well as to combating HIV/AIDS and TB. With the cancellation of round 11, there is now a question mark over how we can continue the funding. I can assure him that the UK’s pledge of £1 billion between 2008 and 2015, of which we have contributed £638 million to date, is showing the UK’s leadership. We stand ready to make further funding available when the reforms that we want to see have been put through.