Stakeholders Must Exert ‘Extreme Vigilance’ To Control Malaria, U.N. Special Envoy for Malaria Chambers Says
Despite the economic downturn, governments and businesses must sustain funding for malaria control efforts to curb the spread of the disease and reduce malaria-associated mortality, U.N. Special Envoy for Malaria Ray Chambers said Monday, London's Times reports. Chambers spoke during the launch of Malaria No More U.K., an extension of the Malaria No More organization that Chambers founded in 2006 with Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corporation.
Chambers called for "extreme vigilance" to control malaria and increased efforts to promote awareness of the disease. Chambers said, "There is a need to continue the donations -- more now than ever before -- because if that support does not continue, malaria will just spiral. We will lose a real chance to make a difference. We need to talk to the private sector and make the best use of the money that is received." He also stressed the importance of sustaining financial support for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to ensure that the organization "does not miss a beat and gets replenished as powerfully as it needs to be." In addition, Chambers commended the leadership of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who worked with the British government to pledge 40 million British pounds, or about $58.6 million, to an Affordable Medicines Facility for Malaria initiative launched last week to subsidize malaria drug prices and increase treatment access in developing countries.
According to the Times, Malaria No More U.K. aims to ensure that the British government meets its commitment to provide its share of the 100 million insecticide-treated nets pledged last year by the Group of Eight industrialized nations to curb the spread of malaria in developing countries by the end of 2010. British athletes David Beckham, Denise Lewis and Andy Murray on Monday also committed to support the organization and were named members of its leadership council. The three athletes said they were motivated to work with Malaria No More U.K. after learning that basic, inexpensive interventions, such as ITNs, can prevent malaria-associated mortality for entire families. According to Sarah Kline, executive director of the British branch of Malaria No More, the United Kingdom previously did not have an organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness of malaria. Kline said that considering malaria's high mortality rate -- particularly for children younger than age five -- there is a "desperate need" to increase public understanding and awareness of the disease (Lister, Times, 4/21).