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From 660,000 to Zero: Tackling Malaria

Health, News/feature, Ireland, Global, 2013

660,000 people still die from malaria each year. Most of those who die from this preventable and curable disease are children under the age of five, who live in sub-Saharan Africa.  An estimated 219 million cases of malaria still occur each year and while progress is being made to reduce the number of infections and resulting deaths, much more still needs to be done.

Ireland supports efforts to combat malaria through many  different routes. We fund research into the development of a vaccine and new drugs which could save thousands of lives. We fund programmes that diagnose, treat and prevent malaria, efforts to inform people about treating and avoiding malaria and we support our partner countries to strengthen their health systems to cope with the large numbers of malaria cases they see each year.

Creating new anti-malarial drugs can be difficult as there is little incentive for private companies because of the lack of profitability. In order to ensure continued research and development of new drugs to markets in developing countries, Ireland funds organisations like the Medicines for Malaria Ventures (€11 million since 2006) and the European Vaccine Initiatives (7.26 million since 2002).

We also provide funding to the ‘Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria’ which since its inception in 2002, has supported more than 1,000 programs in 151 countries and provided 310 million insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria. Since 2002, Ireland has contributed €145million to the fund.

World Malaria Day was established in 2007 by the WHO and marked each year on the 25th April. The aim of the Day is to educate people on avoiding and treating malaria in the hope of reducing the amount of people debilitated and killed by the disease.