How nets save lives: UK pledges £1bn to battle Malaria and other preventable diseases

To think that every minute, a parent somewhere loses their son or daughter to malaria because of a mosquito bite is heart-wrenching

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The Independent Online

My world has been rocked since becoming a Dad. Nothing prepares you for the world-changing little person who arrives in your life in the middle of the night turning everything upside down in a beautiful but totally unpredictable way. Our daughter has given me fresh perspective on many aspects of life including a topic close to my heart – malaria.

It was 18 months ago that I really learnt about the devastating impact of the disease when I visited Ghana with Malaria No More UK, an inspiring charity that works tirelessly to save lives, do check them out.

I saw how malaria wreaks havoc, putting the entire population at risk and tragically accounting for around a quarter of all deaths of young children.  However, I also experienced a palpable sense of hope. I saw that change was possible and indeed happening in front of me. I visited just one of the thousands of communities across the country that were given a lifeline thanks to a free national mosquito net distribution campaign. This transformative outreach received significant support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria and means all the children I met are now sleeping safely tucked under their mosquito nets.

Those few days in West Africa left footprints of hope on my heart and, with the arrival of my daughter, I’ve reflected on them considerably. I would do everything and anything within my power to protect her, so to think that every minute, a parent somewhere loses their son or daughter to malaria because of a mosquito bite is heart-wrenching.

I was delighted to hear the news that the UK Government announced their renewed support for The Global Fund by pledging £1 billion. Support which will help to save millions more lives from AIDS, TB and malaria over the next three years. The Fund was set up in 2002 to dramatically increase efforts to fight these three global pandemics, and since then it has helped save close to nine million lives. If other governments and donors renew their support for the Fund then this worldwide partnership has the potential to save 5.8 million lives in the next three years. 

Before full-time music I worked as a business consultant, working with health care providers and hospitals on how they could improve care as well as their bottom line and reduce costs. So I take an interest in how the Global Fund works especially since it provides more than 60 per cent of all funding for malaria. I was impressed to see how they use pooled funding to increase purchase power, including a recent multi-party tender initiative for mosquito nets to fight malaria that cut prices by 30 per cent.

These developments are a ray of hope for parents around the world. It gives us hope too that we will see the day when a world free of these preventable diseases can be a reality.