Zero Malaria by 2040 Achievable – Jacqueline Applegate

Dr. Jacqueline M. Applegate, President of Global Vegetable Seeds and Environmental Science of Bayer has said the “Zero by 40” initiative launched in London, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which included leading companies in agriculture – BASF, Mitsui Chemicals, Sumitomo Chemical Company, Syngenta and Bayer to eradicate malaria in 2040 is achievable.

She said because all partners have agreed to it as their responsibility as leading companies in agriculture and reaffirming their commitment to the research, development and supply of innovative vector control solutions, such as long-lasting insecticide treated bed-nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS), which remain the most effective and cost-efficient means to prevent malaria, and thus save lives, today.

Applegate said this at the side-lines of the Future of Farming Dialogue 2018 under the theme “Shaping Agriculture Together for Farmers, Consumers and the Planet” in Monheim, Germany.  The four-day dialogue brought together farming stakeholders, academia, NGOs and industry experts from around the globe.

Applegate said much progress has been made since 2000 thanks to the effective collaboration between private and public actors as the global malaria mortality rate was reduced by 60 percent between 2000 and 2015. Today, however, progress has stalled for the first time in fifteen years and we are currently facing a deadly resurgence: there were 5 million more cases of malaria in 2016 compared to the previous year, 91 countries remain endemic, primarily in Africa, where 91% of deaths occur.

She said there is no further evidence needed to say that malaria remains a fundamental humanitarian challenge. A challenge that is far too complex and widespread to be handled by single actors. It needs the renewed and reaffirmed commitment and investments from all stakeholders to make the decisive step and help end malaria for good.

“As a leading company in agriculture Bayer has decided to highlight the role we have to play. The “Zero by 40” initiative, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and coordinated by the Liverpool based IVCC (Innovative Vector Control Consortium), focuses – although not exclusively – on mobilising diverse expert knowledge and resources to deliver a pipeline of innovative vector control tools which respond to the emerging challenge of mosquito resistance” Applegate said.

She said until eradication is achieved, we will need to maintain the level of renewed energy created in London and keep up the momentum, and I ask myself “Who are going to be the next actors to join our common efforts?” Lifting the estimated annual US$12 billion economic burden that malaria represents for Africa alone is one of these great things’ eradication would accomplish; it would enable children, who are the ones mainly affected by the disease, to grow up with purpose and fulfill their potential to imagine new solutions for the next generation.

Meanwhile, Malaria has long been recognized as the most significant of the tropical diseases mainly because of the mortality impact that it has. It has gone from more than a million deaths, most of which were children under five, ten to 15 years ago, down to a point now where we are somewhere above 400,000 to 450,000 deaths a year.

By Evans KORANTENG