( dpa ) - Global health and business leaders announced a major effort to scale-up malaria control which aims to save 3.5 million lives in the next five years.
The three-year effort is to target the 30 hardest-hit countries in Africa which, it is claimed, would prevent 672 million cases of malaria and increase annual economic output by as much as 30 billion dollars.
A report published for the Roll Back Malaria Partnership including the WHO, World Bank and UNICEF and private sector involvement proposed to double spending from 1 billion to 2.2 billion a year over fove years.
UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland said an estimated 800 000 children under the age of five die from malaria in sub Saharan Africa.
"This is simply unacceptable," he said. "A priority must be placed on rapidly scaling up malaria control as part of an integrated child survival programming."
Several countries had made considerable progress in fighting malaria, such as Ethiopia, where 18 million mosquito nets had been distributed in two years. The nets had proved one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the disease by mosquitos.World Bank President Robert Zoellick said: "It's estimated malaria costs 12 billion dollars a year in Africa in lost productivity. The disease strikes farmers just before the rains limited their ability to reap their harvests."
Rajat Gupta of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria said: "This report shows we can save millions of lives and make extraordinary progress in defeating malaria worldwide over the next five years."