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Brussels, 24 April 2013
Joint Statement by Commissioners Andris Piebalgs (Development), Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Research and Innovation) and Tonio Borg (Health and Consumer) on the eve of the World Malaria Day
Millions of people living in highly endemic areas continue to lack access to effective malaria prevention, diagnostic testing, and treatment. As a result, this disease kills more than 660,000 people a year, most of them children under the age of five. More than 90 percent of global malaria deaths are in Africa. World Malaria Day, on 25 April, is an opportunity to reflect on what still needs to be done to win the fight against this global scourge.
The European Union is strongly committed to it, being a major donor to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (29% of their work covers malaria) with over €1.1 billion of total funding provided. Since its establishment in 2002, the Global Fund has supported more than 150 countries, providing 310 million nets treated with insecticide to put over people's beds to prevent infections.
Since 2002 the EU has invested more than €209 million in 87 research projects into the disease and how to control it. In addition, through its partnership with sub-Saharan Africa (the EDCTP initiative), the EU is supporting 32 clinical trials into new treatments with some €50 million.
Thanks to the efforts of the EU and international community, as well as governments and health care providers in endemic countries, malaria deaths have fallen by 25% since the year 2000.
But these shocking statistics show in stark terms that we are by no means near the end of our journey: we are all in it for the long haul. We will need sustained commitments to the fight against malaria – commitments which the European Commission is prepared to continue to offer, despite the challenges we face in raising money in these testing times.