19 November 2018 | Statements

Unitaid’s malaria portfolio is expanding to support world elimination targets

A team sprays innovative insecticides, funded by Unitaid. Image: Julio Dengucho / Unitaid

MAPUTO (Mozambique) The world’s malaria epidemic will not end without a strong push in prevention, diagnosis and treatment programmes, WHO’s annual malaria report says, a strategy Unitaid has been pursuing through a sharp increase in investments and an intensification of partnerships.

WHO’s World Malaria Report 2018, launched today in Maputo, indicates that progress against the mosquito-borne disease has stalled globally, and that it has even made gains in some countries.

Unitaid’s malaria grant portfolio will reach US$ 360 million this year, up from US$ 150 million in 2015, and is on track to reach US$ 400 million by 2020. The organization’s projects are finding better ways to control mosquitoes that spread malaria, protect children and pregnant women most endangered by the disease, and speed up access to the best tests, prevention tools and medicines.

“Our catalytic investments are bringing the best health innovations for malaria to those hardest to reach, closing gaps in access to critical products and services,” said Unitaid Executive Director Lelio Marmora, who visited Maputo this week alongside Board Chair Marta Maurás.

Among the latest investments are the US$ 66 million New Nets Project with the Global Fund and Innovative Vector Control Consortium to pilot bed nets treated with new insecticide combinations in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sleeping under an insecticide-treated net is the best way to prevent malaria.

Recently completed Unitaid-funded projects have made notable contributions against malaria.The Improving Severe Malaria Outcomes project, implemented by Medicines for Malaria Venture, amplified the use and decreased the price of injectable artesunate, a cutting-edge, lifesaving treatment for severe malaria. The project is expected to be saving 66,000 children’s lives annually by 2021.

Another success was the ACCESS-SMC project to fight rainy-season malaria among small children in Africa´s rugged, malaria-prone Sahel region. The $US 68 million project proved that seasonal malaria chemoprevention, a drug treatment, could be successfully carried out on a large scale in the Sahel. The encouraging results of ACCESS-SMC have prompted governments and other organisations to start their own seasonal malaria chemoprevention programmes.

“Unitaid will continue to address blind spots in the global response,”  Maurás said. “Malaria won’t be ended until it’s ended for everyone.”

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