• The pledges were made by African heads of state, international organisations, philanthropists and the private sector during the Kigali Summit.
• “Over the past two decades, it has been inspiring to see the way leaders have come together to combat malaria and neglected tropical diseases,” Melinda said.
Kenya is among the countries that have pledged more than Sh450 billion (USD 4 billion) to accelerate fight against malaria and neglected tropical diseases.
The pledges were made by African heads of state, international organisations, philanthropists and the private sector during the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases on Thursday.
Malaria and NTD-affected countries committed more than Sh259 billion (USD 2.2 billion) in domestic resources toward ending the diseases.
Rwanda President Paul Kagame called for all African countries to mobilise the domestic financial resources required for quality healthcare.
“If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that through coordinated and collaborative action, we can achieve much more,” he said.
Private sector organisations also made commitments to increase research funding and enhancing local manufacturing capacity including from BioNTech.
This includes producing new generation vaccines locally, leveraging mRNA technology and support for regional initiatives.
Also new, safe, accessible diagnostics for NTDs such as snakebite envenoming and more than 18 billion tablets were donated to NTDs by nine pharmaceutical companies.
Pfizer made a commitment to extend its antibiotic donation programme through 2030, enabling continued trachoma elimination programmes in more than 19 countries globally.
GSK reaffirmed its commitment to donate albendazole until the elimination of lymphatic filariasis.
It also extend its soil transmitted helminths donation to include pre-school children and included a third disease on the WHO’s 2030 NTDs Roadmap, echinococcosis.
Novartis said it is investing Sh29.4 billion (USD 250 million) to advance research and development into new treatments to combat NTDs and malaria.
The Wellcome Trust committed to delivering Sh11.6 billion (£80 million) worth of funding towards research on snakebite envenoming treatment.
Further support for malaria and NTDs programmes was also delivered by philanthropic foundations and funds, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda French Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlighted the progress Africans and their partners have made against preventable infectious diseases.
“Over the past two decades, it has been inspiring to see the way leaders have come together to combat malaria and neglected tropical diseases,” she said during the Kigali Summit on Thursday.
Melinda said African government officials, health workers, advocates, and scientists have contributed to significant reductions in death and other impacts these diseases have on communities.
"Tremendous leadership and collaboration with multilateral organisations, donor countries and pharmaceutical companies are saving lives and helping people live to their fullest potential,” she said
Progress against malaria and NTDs has stalled in recent years and even reversed in some countries due to a plateauing of funding, rapidly increasing population and widespread insecticide resistance alongside the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
This has disrupted health programmes including essential services and supply chains that have put further strain on the fight against malaria.
WHO director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said malaria has afflicted humanity for millennia, but in the past 20 years we have made huge gains, saving many lives.
“Those gains are now at risk. Without accelerated action, we are in danger of seeing an immediate resurgence of malaria, particularly in Africa. However, we have the tools and the strategy to prevent that and to start to dream of a malaria-free-world,” he said.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)