Britain and Bill Gates pledge 4.2 billion dollars to fight malaria

Britain will spend 500 million pounds (700 million US dollars) per year for the next five years to battle malaria in a partnership with Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates worth a total of 3 billion pounds (4 billion US dollars).

LIVERPOOOL, ENGLAND, UK (JANUARY 25, 2015) (UK POOL) – The British government has teamed up with billionaire Bill Gates on Monday (January 25) to pledge 3 billion pounds (4.3 billion US dollars) to help end deaths from malaria in the next five years.

Finance minister George Osborne announced the spending, which will be funded from the country’s overseas aid budget, at an event with Gates, whose Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will also contribute around 200 million US dollars per year to the package.

“We are jointly committing 3 billion pounds to eliminate malaria from the world by using great British science, like you see here in Liverpool. We cannot just save lives, but we can create a more secure world that’s overwhelmingly in Britain’s national interest. It is exactly what people want to see our aid budget being spent on,” he said during a visit with gates to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Osborne said some of the money would be spent in Britain to advance the science being used to combat the disease. The Gates Foundation first annual contribution will support research and development and regional efforts to eliminate the disease.

Gates said the funding would help British institutions in research.

“Malaria is a terrible thing. Hundreds of millions of people get it. It holds back economies. It kills over 600,000 children a year – almost 10 percent of all children that die before the age of five. And we have some really great science, whether it’s Liverpool, or Imperial, or Oxford, or partner institutions.”

“By taking this research money, and coming up with new interventions, the scientific community has agreed that by 2040, we can get rid of this disease. So for all the countries, this will be very very transformative. Their kids would grow up far more healthy, they can have their own economies and be self-sufficient. And we need to help them by getting rid of this disease,” Gates said.

In December, the World Health Organization’s annual malaria report showed deaths falling to 438,000 in 2015 – down dramatically from 839,000 in 2000 – and found a significant increase in the number of countries moving towards the elimination of malaria.

The United Nations now wants to cut new cases and deaths from malaria, a parasitic mosquito-borne infection, by 90 percent before 2030.

The Gates Foundation was launched in 2000 by Bill Gates and wife Melinda to fight disease and poverty around the world.