Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: $3.2B needed to crush malaria in Africa

Women in Ethiopia receiving free bed nets. Photo by: Gates Foundation / CC BY-NC-ND

The Confederation of African Football joined Sunday (July 15) the fight to kick malaria out of Africa.

CAF partnered with the African Leaders and Malaria Alliance and the United Against Malaria campaign to raise malaria prevention and awareness across the region, according to a press release. Ninety percent of an estimated 655,000 deaths due to malaria in 2010 occurred in Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

The partnership comes after Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed the need to scale up investments to fight the disease at the 19th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ehtiopia. Sirleaf, who also chairs ALMA, said Africa needs an additional $3.2 billion in the next three years to eliminate malaria, The New Times reports.

A recent study identified the benefits associated in tackling the disease in Africa. Every dollar spent on malaria control will result in an average $40 rise in the continent’sgross domestic product. In addition, scaling up universal coverage of lifesaving tools could prevent 640 million cases and avert 3 million deaths by 2015.

But the battle against the disease will need more than just a scale up in funding. Among the challenges that still need to be addressed are counterfeit anti-malarial drugs and the emergence of another drug-resistant strain along the Thai-Myanmar border. The latter could spread across borders, former Médecins Sans Frontières head in Myanmar Frank Smithuis told Alertnet.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.