12 December 2006
Geneva - The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the world's largest international financier of the fight against malaria, announced that it has drastically increased the number of bed nets available to families at risk from malaria. Insecticide-treated bed nets are the key tool to preventing malaria in developing countries.
The Global Fund revealed that programs it finances have delivered more than 18 million insecticide-treated bed nets as of December 2006, an increase of 135 percent over the past year. It is estimated that those nets will save the lives of 371,000 children over the next three years by protecting them from malaria infection. By 2003, only 13 million treated bed nets had ever been distributed in Africa.
"With Global Fund finance, the world has begun a massive counterattack against malaria at a scale we haven't seen for decades. In some areas, malaria is collapsing thanks to these efforts," said Professor Richard Feachem, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "But we have not yet reached the level and pace of progress that is needed. I hope the important activities taking place this week will invigorate and unite individuals, communities, and businesses around the globe to tackle the challenges that still lie ahead of us and bring the world closer to eradicating this terrible disease."
The Global Fund is also supporting a range of other essential interventions to fight malaria. In 2004, the Global Fund, along with partners such as the World Health Organization and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, led a global shift from outdated malaria medications to the highly effective artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). Since that time, the Global Fund has committed finance to purchase more than 250 million treatments of the more expensive ACTs. This is a dramatic increase compared to the estimated 10,000 people who were receiving the treatment in Africa before 2002. In addition, Global Fund-financed programs have protected millions of people by spraying homes with effective insecticides.
The Global Fund, a unique global public/private partnership, accounts for two-thirds of international funding of anti-malaria efforts, according to the most recent World Malaria Report.Â It currently supports anti-malaria efforts in 84 countries.
Malaria kills more than one million people every year, most of them young children in Africa.
Since its launch five years ago, the Global Fund has become the primary financier of the worldâ€™s fight against malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), supporting local efforts with US$ 6.8 billion committed across 136 countries. In an announcement earlier this month, the Global Fund and the United States Presidentâ€™s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) reported that they are jointly supporting life-extending antiretroviral treatment for 1.2 million people living with AIDS. Global Fund-financed programs have also treated more than two million people for tuberculosis, the single largest killer of people with AIDS.