Malaria is no more the enemy of only African countries but that of the global community. A global campaign to eliminate it by 2015 is now on the card
| By Maureen Chigbo | May 13, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
THE fight against malaria is going global, no longer localised to African countries like Nigeria where the disease is endemic. Over the years, the federal government of Nigeria has been carrying out the Roll-Back malaria campaign, which has not made any appreciable impact. In April, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, joined the fight against malaria and flagged off the construction of biolavicides in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to strengthen the vector component of the campaign to rid West Africa of Malaria. The other factories will be located in Cote d’ Ivoire and Ghana, all in sub-Saharan Africa.
The latest effort in this campaign to eliminate malaria by 2015, is Novartis and Malaria No More, a leading global charity who are determined to end malaria-related deaths, has joined forces with the Power of One campaign to help close the treatment gap and accelerate progress in the fight against malaria. Over the next three years, Novartis will support the campaign financially and also donate up to three million full courses of its pediatric antimalarial drugs to match the ones donated by the public, thereby doubling the impact of the donations.
“We believe that this innovative campaign will help speed up the elimination of malaria. Novartis has been striving towards this goal for more than a decade, and we just reached the milestone of providing 600 million treatments without profit to patients in malaria-endemic countries. No one should die from malaria today,” said Joseph Jimenez, Novartis chief executive officer.
Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, yet a child dies from malaria every minute. This is against a backdrop of global funding gaps and concern that the gains made to defeat the disease could be reversed. The Power of One campaign aims to address this need by closing the global treatment gap between now and the end of 2015 through direct donations and existing government commitments.
“The Power of One campaign challenges the global public to help close the global treatment gap for malaria; Every dollar raised will buy and deliver a full course of life-saving child treatment,” said Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More. He added: “We are delighted to be partnering with forward-thinking companies like Novartis to help end deaths from this disease—one dollar and one child at a time.”
Novartis has joined the Power of One campaign with some of the world’s most innovative companies, including Alere, who will be providing malaria rapid diagnostic tests, along with Time Warner, Twitter and others. The campaign will use the latest social, mobile, and e-commerce technologies to rally the global public to contribute to the campaign.
“Malaria is a complex issue and needs a multi-pronged collaborative approach. We can’t solve a problem like this on our own,” said Linus Igwemezie, head of the Novartis Malaria Initiative, adding: “Through partnerships with organisations like Malaria No More, we can speed up progress toward the ultimate goal of malaria elimination.”
Power of One will officially launch the campaign in the fall. Until then and to mark the announcement of this campaign, the first 10,000 people to sign up and register their interest on the Power of One website will help provide a treatment to a child with a confirmed case of malaria in Africa.
Power of One builds on the Novartis Malaria Initiative’s efforts to eliminate malaria. Since 2001, a key focus of the company’s commitment has been to supply its artemisinin-based combination therapy, ACT, to malaria-endemic countries. Novartis is proud to announce today that it has delivered 600 million ACT treatments without profit to the public sector of more than 60 malaria-endemic countries. This includes the provision of more than 150 million treatments of the Novartis antimalarial especially developed for children. Never before have so many treatments been distributed in such a short time frame to assist children suffering from malaria.
The Novartis Malaria Initiative is one of the largest access-to-medicine programs in the healthcare industry. Moving forward, Novartis is committed to malaria elimination by driving the development of the next generation antimalarials, with currently two new classes of anti-malaria drugs in development. The most advanced compound is in Phase II clinical trials.