Global Fund head hails progress in fight against malaria

Staff Writers | 27 Nov 2007
Agence France Presse
The head of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria on Tuesday hailed "spectacular" progress against malaria, as the number of bed nets to protect against mosquitoes available rose by 155 percent.

Some 46 million families at risk have received the nets so far this year, marking a rise of 155 percent from 18 million families in 2006, Global Fund executive director Michel Kazatchkine told journalists.

The Global Fund also provided the financing for effective drugs to treat approximately 44 million people suffering from malaria over the course of the year.

"These figures can and should give great hope to the world," Kazatchkine said.

He cited a recent study in Zanzibar which showed that insecticide-treated bed nets and effective medicinal treatment can cut malaria transmission in high coverage areas by as much as 90 percent.

"These figures are very positive. Insecticide-treated bed nets are one of the key tools to prevent malaria and it is important that everybody living in malaria endemic regions has access to one," said Awa Marie Coll-Seck, the executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, in a statement.

The Global Fund, a public-private partnership set up by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan in 2002, announced earlier this month it had approved grants worth more than 1.1 billion dollars (757 million euros) to fight the three diseases in developing countries over the next two years.

AIDS projects make up 48 percent of the total, malaria 42 percent and TB 10 percent, the Fund said.

Annual figures relating to the fight against AIDS and TB will be published on Friday.