Malaria death rates have been in steady decline since 2000 but rose again in 2016 as progress towards eliminating the mosquito-borne preventable disease stalled. More than 445,000 people died from malaria in 2016, mostly children under five and pregnant women. One child dies every two minutes from the disease. There were 216 million cases in 2016 – 90% of which were in Africa. Malaria is estimated to cost the African economy more than $12 billion per year. “If we don’t keep innovating, we will go backwards. If we don’t maintain the commitments, malaria would go back up and kill over a million children a year, because the drugs and the insecticides always are evaded by the mosquitos and parasites,” Bill Gates warned on Wednesday. Gates also said 90% of people living in the Commonwealth were at risk of catching malaria. At the biennial Commonwealth summit, host Britain has called on the 53 Commonwealth nations to commit to halving malaria throughout the member states by 2023. Stakeholders were expected to pledge more than £2.7 billion ($3.8 billion) of funding into research, data tools and malaria interventions.
The Prince Charles speaking at the summit
Speaking at the “Malaria No More” summit hPrince Charles of Wales said: “Combatting malaria is without doubt an issue of truly global urgency.” “I am delighted therefore, that this issue is being addressed during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting,” he expressed hope.