Washington, April 22, 2010 - World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick today committed $200 million to provide people in sub Saharan Africa with bed nets that will protect them from malaria. Malaria kills nearly one million people every year in poor countries around the world. The disease is severest in Africa, where one in every five children dies of malaria.
The World Bank funding comes in support of yesterday’s call for action for a stepped-up effort to fight the disease by the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers. In 2008, the United Nations Secretary-General established the dual goals of providing all those at risk of malaria with malaria control interventions by December 31, 2010, with the ultimate goal of ending malaria deaths by 2015.
To date, 200 million mosquito nets have been delivered across sub-Saharan Africa, affording protection to half of the world’s population at risk of malaria. 100 million more are in the process of being produced and delivered. In a statement in advance of World Malaria Day, which will be commemorated on April 25, 2010, Ray Chambers drew attention to the remaining 50 million bed nets that are urgently needed to ensure that the Secretary-general’s 2010 goal is met.
“As one of the three largest sources of money in the struggle to overcome malaria, the World Bank is determined to help close this gap,” President Zoellick said, “We will commit an additional $200 million to fund the production and distribution of 25 million bed nets -- thereby closing half of the existing gap.”
The money will support malaria prevention efforts in countries hardest hit by the deadly parasite, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Zambia.
“Bed nets are vital to protect people from this terrible disease. We know they work. All that is needed is more money”, President Zoellick said, “We are making this commitment today to make sure those in danger are protected. And because the lives of every man, every woman and every child count.”