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Wednesday, 09 January 2013

Threatened aid cuts, a big blow to malaria fight

Threatened reductions in foreign aid from the European Union and its struggling governments could undermine efforts to combat malaria, international health experts say.
The Geneva-based Global Fund, an international institution that finances treatment and prevention of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria estimates that money from its biggest contributors – which include the European Commission, EU member states, the United States and Japan – will decline with around 6% from $3.5 billion in 2012 to $3.3 billion in 2013.
Moreover, the organisation’s data show that contributions from private foundations and companies are also shifting downwards, from $181.6 million to $164 million, for an overall 6% drop.
Also, last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that funding for prevention and control has levelled off after rapid expansion between 2004 and 2009. In a statement accompanying the release of its annual World Malaria Report, the UN health body said “these developments are signs of a slowdown that could threaten to reverse the remarkable recent gains in the fight against one of the world’s leading infectious killers.”
WHO Director-General Margaret Cha called for more than doubling annual donor commitments to malaria prevention from $2.3 billion to $5.1 billion (€1.7bn to €3.9bn).
That seems unlikely given the challenges facing development aid overall. In Europe, billions of euros in spending to support poorer nations is at stake as national leaders weigh cuts to overseas development assistance.
Health experts echo the WHO in saying that losses in aid could hamper progress measured since the United Nations set out its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 to reduce disease, hunger and poverty. Since then, the mortality rate from malaria has fallen 25% worldwide and 33% in Africa, where 90% of malaria-related deaths occur, WHO data show.


Source: Euractiv