NEWS - From the Department for International Development



BRITAIN BACKS WAR ON MALARIA

17 May 1998

The Prime Minister today fired the first salvo in the Worldwide battle against Malaria by backing an international initiative to wipe out the disease.

Speaking at the G8 summit in Birmingham, Mr. Blair pledged £60 million from the Department for International Development (DFID) for the World Health Organization's Roll Back Malaria initiative (RBM) which aims to dramatically cut the number of deaths and illness caused by Malaria deaths by the year 2015.

Mr. Blair was joined by International Development Secretary Clare Short in paying tribute to Dr. Gro Harlem Brundland, Director General Elect of WHO, who promised this week to make Malaria a priority for her leadership.

"I congratulate Dr. Brundtland on making Malaria the focus of so much energy" said Ms. Shun.

"Now is the time for the world to act to fight this terrible disease - which afflicts the developing world so greatly. I am proud that Britain has taken the lead in devoting more resources to its reduction."

"Every 30 seconds, a child somewhere dies of Malaria. It kills indiscriminately, it puts an enormous strain on health services, and prevents the developing world from escaping from grinding poverty. The Roll Back Malaria initiative presents a huge opportunity to make a difference."

Malaria currently kills more than one million people each year - 90% of these are in Africa. A further 500 million contract the disease each year

The RBM initiative could halve the number of deaths caused by Malaria by the year 2010, and halve that number again five years later.




Notes to Editors

I. RBM Is a priority initiative in the programme Of the new Director-General Of WHO
(Mrs. Gro Harlem Brundtland) who was elected at the World Health Assembly in Geneva on 13 May.

2. RBM will mobilize and co-ordinate a global coalition including leaders from Malaria-ridden countries, the WHO, United Nations agencies, the World Bank, scientific institutions, private sector bodies and governments World-wide.

3. RBM aims to revitalize the global effort against Malaria by seeking to: increase the numbers of people able to have access to effective treatment and means of protection: increase the capacity of national authorities to handle Malaria, through improved surveillance, diagnosis, planning and management: increase regional and global capacities to support national requirements intensify efforts to develop new pharmaceutical products for prevention and treatment.

4. RBM Will promote the use of and Wider dissemination of, existing techniques for treatment and prevention of Malaria including:
- improved treatment of disease through proper diagnosis and treatment.
- better protection - use of insecticide treated mosquito nets which promise to cut death rates.
- control of mosquitoes - with environmental development and industrial groups
- improved surveillance of disease and the mosquito.

5. For more information, contact the Press Office, DFID, Tel: 0171 017
0821.

Issued by Information Department. Department For International Development,
94 Victoria St., London SW1E 5JL. Tel; 0171-917- 0950. Fax: O171-917 0523.
Internet: http:// www.dfid.gov.uk



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