World Malaria Day (April 25, 2013)
France is mobilizing in the fight against malaria
More than 650000 people die of malaria each year, most of whom are children under 5 years of age.
Thanks to the commitment of the international community, the fight against malaria has made significant progress in recent years. A significant decline in child mortality has been observed in endemic countries and the pandemic has been successfully eradicated in certain countries. In 2000, a child died of this disease every 30 seconds, while this rate has now been halved to one per minute.
Photo : Le Fonds mondial/Benoist Carpentier
The mobilization of all stakeholders, in particular multilateral organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID, has proved decisive. Thanks to the Global Fund, more than 310 million insecticide-treated bed nets have been distributed in the past 10 years. UNITAID action has ensured improved availability of affordable effective and quality treatments, particularly through the Affordable Medicines Facility-malaria (AMFm) which has made these treatments available in the private sector.
The Global Malaria Action Plan (GMAP) initiated by the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership has defined the priorities for fighting the disease effectively by combining:
prevention (use of insecticide-treated bed nets),
diagnosis (by means of Rapid Diagnostic Tests – RDTs),
treatment (through artemisinin-based combination therapies – ACTs).
While it has proved effective, the fight against malaria must be maintained.
Major inequalities persist: while certain countries are set to eradicate malaria, a major part of the scourge is concentrated in others: Nigeria, the DRC and India alone account for 40% of cases of malaria.
New challenges are emerging, such as resistance to anti-malarial drugs, partly due to the inappropriate use of medicines or resistance to insecticides.
Despite lower costs, financial needs are still very great: they are estimated at USD3.6 billion in Africa for the period 2013-2015.
In response to these challenges, France is mobilizing through:
its major contribution to the Global Fund, as the second-biggest contributor with €360 million a year,
the 5% Initiative (France’s indirect contribution to the Global Fund, implemented by France Expertise Internationale – FEI) to finance short-term technical assistance and operational research projects (http://www.fei.gouv.fr/en/our-projects/focus-on-/initiative-5.html),
the fight against pandemics, which will be financed by the promotion of innovative financing, the levy on airline tickets (largely financed by UNITAID), and part of the levy on international financial transactions.
Malaria is a preventable disease that can be cured. In order to preserve the huge achievements of recent years, the fight against the disease must not be allowed to flag.