IMPACT

Bill Gates Has A Plan To Eliminate Malaria Once And For All

“What we’re doing on malaria shows you can really make a difference.”

Malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people every year -- but with the right investment, Bill Gates is hoping to eliminate the disease entirely. 

Gates discusses his new approach to tackling the disease in a video released on Monday, for World Malaria Dayfeaturing UK Chancellor George Osborne.

"Eradication won't be easy," Gates says in the video. 

The Gates Foundation plans on investing in research and development to tackle one of the emerging challenges in eradicating malaria: drug-resistant strains. 

"The big emerging issue is drug resistance," Osborne says in the video. "This is resistance to the kinds of drugs we've been using all over the world to tackle diseases and save lives." 

Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and causes fever, headache and vomiting. If drugs are not available to treat it or if the strain is drug-resistant, the disease can worsen, leading to anemia, lifelong learning disabilities, and death.

Gates plans on conducting surveillance to determine where the problem areas are, and then create new drugs that don't have the same problem of resistance.

"We're getting new tools," Gates says in the video. "We'll do eradication region by region, and as that map shrinks we'll get to the hardest part: Equatorial Africa."

Last year alone, there were more than 200 million new cases of malaria, causing almost half a million deaths, the World Health Organization reports. And about 90 percent of malaria deaths are in Sub-Saharan Africa

Bill and Melinda Gates visit a young patient suffering from malaria in the Manhica Research Center and hospital in 2003 in Mo
Bill and Melinda Gates visit a young patient suffering from malaria in the Manhica Research Center and hospital in 2003 in Mozambique.

The good news is, deaths from malaria have declined by 60 percent since 2000, according to the WHO. But elimination will still not be easy.

The Gates Foundation is partnering with the British government to try to eradicate the disease, as they announced in January. They committed to spending more than $4 billion over the next five years to do so

“What we’re doing on malaria shows you can -- if you have the effort, you’ve got the science, and you’re determined -- really make a difference in the world,” Osborne says in the video.

This feature is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Malaria No More, in conjunction with World Malaria Day. To see all the posts in the series, please visit here. To learn more about Malaria No More, please visit here. And follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WorldMalariaDay.
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