Microsoft's Bill Gates and the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne have announced that they’ll spend billions to try and defeat “the world’s deadliest killer” — malaria.
Announcing the news in a joint article written for the Times, the pair wrote that “when it comes to human tragedy, no creature comes close to the devastation caused by the mosquito", adding that they “both believe that a malaria-free world has to be one of the highest global health priorities”.
The new commitment will see the UK commit £500 million per year of its overseas aid budget to fighting malaria. Meanwhile, the Gates Foundation will stump up $200 million this year with more donations to follow. The investment will be worth it, as the pair point out:
There are 200 million cases of the illness each year, which keeps parents out of work and children from school. Household budgets can be devastated by the need to pay for medicine and transport to clinics. In the poorest places, malaria is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. It costs Africa billions of pounds a year in lost productivity and can account for 40% of public health expenditure.
Image by World Bank Photo