October 31, 2005 in Nation/World

Report finds little spent on malaria

Emma Ross Associated Press
 

LONDON – Malaria research accounts for about one-third of 1 percent of the total amount spent on medical research and development, even though it accounts for 3 percent of all the productive years of life lost to diseases, according to a report released Sunday.

The report, the first comprehensive analysis of malaria research funding, coincided with an announcement by the field’s biggest private donor, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, of $258.3 million in new grants to accelerate the development of new drugs, a vaccine and better mosquito control methods.

“It’s really a tragedy that the world has done so little to stop this disease that kills 2,000 African children every day,” said Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates. “If those children were in rich countries, we would have headlines, we’d take action. We wouldn’t rest until every child was protected.”

Malaria causes an estimated 500 million bouts of illness a year, kills an African child every 30 seconds and costs an estimated $12 billion a year in lost gross domestic product.

“The report confirms what has been clear, and that is that the world isn’t investing nearly enough in malaria R&D,” Gates said.

The analysis, conducted by malaria research and development organizations, found that total spending on research and development for malaria amounted to $323 million last year, about 0.3 percent of total health research and development investments.

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