As the global community commemorates the Day of the African Child, the figures show the alarming fact that one child dies every thirty seconds of malaria in Africa.
Despite some progress in reducing child mortality as part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), each year hundreds of thousand of children continue to die from this preventable and curable disease. "Malaria is one of the great obstacles to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, namely in reducing child and maternal mortality (MDG 4 & 5)", said Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Executive Director of Roll Back Malaria. Indeed, in spite of the EU's political will to achieve the MDGs and the highest level of global funding to date, the funding gap for malaria persists - $1 billion per year is available today whereas $3 billion a year is needed to control malaria by 2015. In addition, although tools and strategies which work well to control malaria exist, many people, particularly children, are still not being reached by delivery systems.
Three days before the European Council meeting on June 19th/20th, the European Alliance Against Malaria calls for the European Union Member States to fulfil their financial commitments to achieve the health related Millennium Development Goals by reaching agreement on the ambitious EU MDG Action Plan and by establishing timetables for providing more, better and faster aid.
Malaria accounts for one in five of all childhood deaths in Africa. 2000 will die while the global community commemorates the Day of the African Child. Each year, approximately 300 to 500 million malaria infections lead to over one million deaths, of which over 80% - around 800,000 a year - occur among African children. The rapid spread of resistance to antimalarial drugs, coupled with poverty, and especially weak health infrastructures, means that malaria targets are not yet being met. Those who survive malaria will have to cope with its consequences: Anemia, low birth-weight, epilepsy, and neurological problems, all frequent after-effects of malaria, are often unrecognized or inadequately managed and compromise the health and development of millions of children in Africa. Yet much of the impact of malaria on the world's children could be prevented with currently available interventions.
Over the past decade, international funding for malaria control has risen more than tenfold and malaria has been included among major international development targets, notably the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the targets set at the 2000 Abuja Summit on Roll Back Malaria.
Yet, despite the recent momentum, figures show that much more is still needed in the fight against malaria. The proportion of children across sub- Saharan Africa sleeping under insecticide-treated nets is only 8 per cent. There is a global requirement of about $3 billion a year to make sure malaria is controlled by 2015 and currently, approximately $1 billion per year is available for malaria resources. Funding increases should accelerate research into new tools that reduce the malaria burden and strengthen national health systems.
The Member States should confirm at the European Council on June 19th/20th their long-term commitment to spending 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA), with an interim target of 0.56 % of GNI to be reached by 2010.
This means a doubling of the EU's annual ODA to more than EUR 66 billion in 2010. In this context, the European Alliance Against Malaria wishes to express concern at the recent decrease in collective ODA volume from 0.41 % of GNI in 2006 to 0.38 % in 2007.
The European Alliance Against Malaria calls upon the heads of the European Member States, meeting at the European Council on June 19th/20th, to agree on the ambitious EU MDG Action Plan and to establish timetables for providing more, better and faster aid.
The European Alliance Against Malaria is a committed group of 12 civil society organizations from Brussels, France, Germany, Spain and the UK working for a malaria-free world. Focused on European action in a global context, we aim through advocacy to increase funding and improve programming for malaria, demanding concrete and resolute action as part of global efforts to reduce poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). www.europeanallianceagainstmalaria.org
Malaria Consortium is an organisation dedicated to improving delivery of prevention and treatment to combat malaria and other communicable diseases in Africa and Asia. We work with communities, health systems, government and non-government agencies, academic institutions, and local and international organisations, to ensure good evidence supports delivery of effective services. More than 90% of our human and technical resources are based in Africa and Asia supporting Ministries of Health and partners in over twenty countries through our offices in Uganda, Mozambique, Sudan, Southern Sudan, Zambia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Thailand and the United Kingdom. www.malariaconsortium.org