Britain, Bill Gates announce $4.3 bn to fight malaria

London, Jan 25 (IANS) British Chancellor George Osborne and Microsoft founder Bill Gates announced in Liverpool three billion pounds ($4.27 billion) in funding over the next five years for research and efforts to eliminate malaria.

The fund would be made up of 500 million pounds a year from Britain’s overseas aid budget for the next five years, as well as $200 million in 2016 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, of which Bill Gates is the co-chair, Xinhua reported.

The Gates Foundation will continue its support with a similar amount over each of the following four years.

Speaking at the world famous Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), Osborne, Gates and government International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, revealed a significant funding package to ramp up efforts to fight malaria.

They said the path to a malaria free world will be centred on a three billion pounds commitment over five years and a mission to support the WHO goal of reducing malaria deaths by 90 percent by 2030.

“I am determined that our overseas aid budget is spent on the challenges people in Britain want to see addressed — and those that threaten global and national security,” Chancellor Osborne said.

“Across the globe over a billion people are infected with malaria and it is a cause of both untold misery and lost economic potential,” he said.

“That’s why, working with Bill Gates, I’m determined that Britain leads the world in the fight against this disease.”

Gates said: “Britain is a global leader in the fight against deadly diseases like malaria — a disease that still claims the life of a child every minute.”

According to Secretary Greening, Malaria still causes one out of ten child deaths in Africa and costs Africa’s economy billions every year.

Director of LSTM, Professor Janet Hemingway, said as the world’s oldest Tropical Medical Institution dedicated to improving health, LSTM is delighted to see the growing partnership between British government and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, providing leadership and support to the fight against the global health challenges of malaria.

Monday’s announcement builds on the new 1 billion pound Ross Fund announced by the government and the Gates Foundation in November — named after Sir Ronald Ross, the British Nobel Laureate recognised for his discovery that mosquitoes transmit malaria.

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