Mutharika in game-changing commitment on malaria fight in Malawi

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The Prime Minister will pledge cash with the aim of helping children spend 12 years in school when she gives a speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on Tuesday.

"Malaria devastates lives worldwide but it has a particular impact on the Commonwealth".

"Progress against malaria has been one of the most impressive successes in global health in this generation", the USA philanthropist said.

The organisations will hold "Malaria Summit London 2018" ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to announce investments totalling more than US $3.8 billion in the fight to eliminate the scourge.

The fight against malaria will be centred on Commonwealth countries, which are disproportionately affected by the disease. As part of this, the United Kingdom announced a further £100 million match fund commitment to the Global Fund to match new contributions from private donors pound for pound.

"To defeat an infectious disease like malaria you have to hit it hard - and you have to keep hitting it until it's gone", said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. "If we don't maintain the commitments, malaria would go back up and kill over a million children a year, because the drugs and the insecticides always are evaded by the mosquitos and parasites".

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Meanwhile, experts at the pan-African malaria conference, held every 3 to 4 years, warned that a rapid rise in malaria cases in deaths in countries grappling with conflict and starvation could thwart the last 10 years of progress against the disease. "We are now on a cliff edge - continue to battle the disease or risk an acute and deadly resurgence".

"Thousands of scientists from more than 70 countries. will gather to share the latest research in the fight against malaria and discuss best practices moving forward to end the epidemic for good", said the organisers of the London summit, ahead of that gathering. One team presented World Health Organization (WHO) data showing that, as global malaria deaths dropped sharply over the past 6 years, infections and deaths surged in many areas experiencing armed conflict, including Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Sudan, and Central African Republic.

"It's a disease that is preventable, treatable and ultimately beatable, but progress against malaria is not inevitable", Gates said. "We hope today marks a turning point against the disease, and that the Commonwealth takes a leading role in saving lives and ending malaria for good". Strong leadership and investment within malaria affected countries is fundamental. "We aren't completely there on this better surveillance, but we are making progress".

A total of 24 members of the Commonwealth are actively tackling the disease, 20 have eliminated malaria and eight have never had malaria.

For full details of what can be expected at the summit, see the organisers' press release. It's now time for the rest of the world to do the same.

Seventy days before CHOGM, David Beckham launched a public facing global campaign - Malaria Must Die, So Millions Will Live - backed by a wide coalition of organisations and celebrities, to help build a public mandate for renewed global and collective Commonwealth action to prioritise the fight against malaria, or risk undoing decades of unprecedented progress.

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