LibLink…Lynne Featherstone writes on World Malaria Day

Over at the Huffington Post, Lib Dem international development minister Lynne Featherstone has been talking about the importance of World Malaria Day.

Here’s an excerpt:

Malaria affects over half the world’s population, with a child dying every minute from the disease. In the worst-affected countries malaria has a devastating impact on health systems and economies. When faced with these stark facts it can often seem like there’s no hope.

But amongst the gloom there are genuine signs that we may finally be winning the battle against malaria. Across the world malaria is on the decline. Over the past decade governments, NGOs and multilaterals like the UN and World Bank have come together to fight the disease, while national governments in the worst-hit countries made real progress in delivering malaria control programmes. This global coalition had an enormous impact. By 2010, 145 million bed nets – the simple, cheap yet hugely effective defence against malarial mosquitoes – were being delivered to sub-Saharan Africa. The amount of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) – the most effective pharmaceutical treatment for malaria sufferers – jumped from just 11 million in 2005 to 278 million in 2011. In just one country, Mozambique, DFID’s support for anti-malaria spraying has seen a dramatic reduction in deaths and hospital admissions of at least 40%.

The effect of these efforts can be summarised in just two hugely important statistics. Between 2000 and 2010 global malaria mortality rates dropped by 26%, saving over a million lives. Behind these statistics lies hundreds of thousands of families free from pain and suffering. Free from having to mourn the death of a child. Free to get a job and work themselves out of poverty without having to worry about another bout of fever.

You can read more about the challenges that remain, and what we need to do about the, in Lynne’s piece here.

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