There were 438,000 malaria deaths in 2015, most of them of children aged under five, and the majority of them in Africa, revealed the World Health Organization. Efforts to control the disease have made significant progress in the last 15 years, but are threatened by the spread of resistance to antimalarial drugs and to insecticide, the WHO said in its World Malaria Report 2015.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer and tech billionaire Bill Gates unveiled a plan to spend billions to defeat 'the world's deadliest killer' malaria.
Chancellor George Osborne and Gates announced £3 billion ($4.28 billion, 4 billion euros) in funding over the next five years for research and to support efforts to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease, in a joint article in The Times.
The fund would be made up of £500 million a year from Britain's overseas aid budget for the next five years, as well as $200 million in 2016 from The Gates Foundation, with more donations to follow.
Osborne and Gates wrote, "If new insecticides are not introduced by 2020, the situation will become critical and deaths could surge. Fighting diseases required collaboration between private companies, governments and charities. We are optimistic that in our lifetimes we can eradicate malaria and other deadly tropical diseases, and confront emerging threats, making the world a safer place for all."
It comes days after the philanthropist Gates announced plans for a $100 million scheme to cut malnutrition in Nigeria.