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02.11.2004 General News

$2.5 bn needed to prevent and control malaria

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Accra, Nov. 2, GNA - - A target budget of between 1.5 billion and 2.5 billion dollars is required annually to prevent and control malaria, which claims over one million lives worldwide each year. "To sustain impact, funding must not be sparse and sporadic, but adequate with a long-term focus to meet, not only the immediate targets but also to meet the Millennium Development Goals and beyond", according to an article written by World Health Organisation (WHO) experts in the September 2004 issue of the Communicable Disease Bulletin, a publication of the WHO Regional Office for Africa.
More than 90 per cent of the one million lives lost to malaria are in Africa, according to a statement from the WHO Regional Office for Africa received in Accra.
The statement said in Africa, where as much as 50 per cent of the population lives on less than one dollar a day, households, through out-of-pocket expenses, bear most of the cost for preventing and treating malaria.
These private expenditures are estimated to be greater than donor support, and more than twice government expenditure for the same purpose.
It said a 2002 multi-centre study in the African Region found that direct costs of managing a case of severe malaria ranged from 14.50 to 58.30 dollars per annum.
"While continued financial support from the international community is essential, it is equally important for the international community to support implementation capacity to match increased funding.
"A case in point is the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) which, in three rounds of proposal calls, has approved 371 million dollars for malaria prevention and control since its establishment in 2002."
The statement said in June 2004, approvals by the fund for 15 African countries totalled about 7.5 million dollars over five years. In 2003, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, another major source of funding, announced three major grants totalling 168 million dollars.
Although theses two initiatives, among others, have been instrumental in providing additional resources for malaria prevention and control in the Region, over the last three years, current estimates indicate that pledged financial support is still about 10 times less than the projected expenditure.
"Donors should work with governments to improve management and organizational capacity for monitoring and evaluating resource flows, both human and financial.
"Since existing resources do not always reach those who need them, governments must prioritise malaria within their own health sector budgets to maximize the disbursement of available resources to prevent and control malaria."

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