Just a few days ago, billionaire Bill Gates unveiled plans to spend $100 million to cut malnutrition in Nigeria. On Monday, the Microsoft co-founder teamed up with the British government to eradicate malaria, “the world’s deadliest killer.” Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne and Bill Gates announced a £3 billion ($4.3 billion) plan to step up support efforts and fund research to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease.
Malaria causing heartbreak to so many families: Bill Gates and Osborne
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria claimed more than 438,000 lives last year. Most of them were children under the age five. The WHO report points out that there were 214 million cases of malaria in 2015, and 89% of them were in Sub-Saharan Africa. Control and eradication efforts have showed significant progress in the last 15 years. But the progress has slowed in the last few years as parasites develop resistance to medicines and insecticides.
In a column published Monday in the Times of London, Gates and Osborne wrote, “When it comes to human tragedy, no creature comes close to the devastation caused by the mosquito.” The two hope to make the world malaria-free in their lifetimes. In November, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had partnered with the British government to establish the Ross Fund, a £1 billion fund to support the development of insecticides, vaccines and other efforts to fight malaria and other diseases.
Britain to provide £2.5 billion over five years
For the new fund announced on Monday, the British government has pledged to provide £500 million a year for the next five years from the country’s overseas aid budget. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to provide £200 million for this year. Over the years, Bill Gates’ charity has provided more than $28 billion to fight diseases and poverty around the world.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has also provided funding for GlaxoSmithKline’s Mosquirix, the world’s first malaria vaccine to reach Phase 3 clinical trials. The drug received a nod from European regulators in July 2015. Gates and Osborne stressed the need for collaboration across charities, governments, and the private sector.