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Bill Gates Teams Up With the Brits to Cure Malaria

They promise a steady fund for the next five years.

Photo via Flickr user Mohammad Jangda

Bill Gates and British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne have announced a £3 billion ($4.28 billion) fund to accelerate efforts in the research and treatment of malaria.

The pair established their partnership in the “battle against the world’s deadliest killer” in late 2015 under the title of the Ross Fund, in honor of Sir Ronald Ross, the British scientist who received a Nobel Prize in 1902 for his work proving that mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting malaria.

“We both believe that a malaria-free world has to be one of the highest global health priorities,” the two wrote in an article co-authored for The Times.

Gates has been involved in combating malaria for years now, documenting his trips and providing updates on his blog, and has pledged an initial payment of £200 million this year, while the U.K.’s overseas aid budget will provide a steady £500 million a year for the next five years.

Gates and Osborne write that in certain African countries, malaria can account for as much as 40 percent of public health expenditures. They call the illness “both a cause and a consequence of poverty.”

One of the biggest threats to controlling malaria has been the growing resistance to insecticides, according to the World Health Organization’s “World Malaria Report 2015.”

“The remarkable gains against malaria are still fragile,” said Dr. Robert Newman, former director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme. “In the next 10-15 years, the world will need … new strategic approaches to sustain and accelerate progress.”

One such approach is, simply, providing a reliable and consistent source of funding to prevent falling back after new developments are achieved.

“If new insecticides are not introduced by 2020, the situation will become critical and deaths could surge,” Gates and Osborne warn.

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