According to a Newsweek article, the UK government and Bill Gates have pledged to invest $4.3 billion over five years to eradicate malaria. The UK government will spend $713 million annually until at least 2020 and the Gates Foundation will spend $200 million per year on funding research into fighting malaria. They are optimistic about wiping out malaria within decades.
Some facts on malaria from the World Health Organization
- Malaria is caused by parasites that are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitos.
- Approximately 3.2 billion people are at risk of developing malaria. In 2015, there were about 214 million malaria cases and 438,000 malaria deaths.
- Children, pregnant women and non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are vulnerable to the disease when they become infected.
- In high risk areas, children under 5 are especially vulnerable to infection, illness and death. 70% of malaria deaths occur in this age group. In 2015, about 305,000 African children died before their fifth birthdays.
- Increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.
- Pregnant women are at high risk of dying from the complications of severe malaria.
An October 2015 report by the WHO and UNICEF showed that death rates from malaria have fallen significantly over the past 15 years. Tackling malaria is one of Bill Gates’ pet projects. The Gates Foundation and the United Nations released a report in September 2015 outlining the groundwork for eradicating malaria by 2040. To read the full report, please click here.
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