HC Deb 19 January 2004 vol 416 cc945-6W
Mr. Bercow

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money has been given by his Department in each of the last six years(a) for medicines to fight malaria and (b) to research into affordable anti-malaria medicines. [148088]

Hilary Benn

The Department for International Development works closely with many partners to help developing countries accelerate progress towards achieving the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Goal VI is: by 2015, to have halted and begun to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and the incidence of malaria and other major diseases. Goal IV contains a target to reduce by two thirds between 1990 and 2015 the under-five mortality ratio.

The UK is committed to tackling malaria and contributing towards poverty reduction, in line with the MDGs and the associated Abuja Targets on malaria control. At the 1998 G8 summit in Birmingham the UK pledged £60 million in support of malaria activities, with £48 million allocated to Roll Back Malaria (RBM) over the period January 1999 to March 2004. RBM provides coordinated support for sustainable action against malaria. This includes providing technical support to Governments to ensure that their anti-malarial drug policies enable those suffering from malaria to get early treatment and to access affordable and appropriate medicines. As an active partner of RBM, DFID works to ensure RBM provides sound evidence-based support for the effective use of resources, including those available from the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to which we have committed a total of US$280 million.

Within our overall spend on communicable diseases, we estimate that the amount spent on named malaria projects, including country programme and research spend, has been:

  • 1997–98: £2,152,884
  • 1998–99: £5,651,063
  • 1999–2000: £13,882,671
  • 2000–01: £17,372,874
  • 946W
  • 2001–02: £17,280,357
  • 2002–03: £18,892,095

DFID funds a variety of projects and programmes which work towards malaria control, including on the development and supply of anti-malarial drugs. DFID makes direct investments in research that covers malaria in several ways. Every year we give £4 million to the MRC through a Concordat agreement, which prioritises the needs of developing countries. Within the overall MRC portfolio, the focus on basic clinical research that can be used to identify new drug candidates includes malaria.

DFID also engage more directly in partnerships with industry to transform basic research, of the kind supported by the MRC, into drugs. We recently worked with GlaxoSmithKline, the WHO programme on Tropical Disease Research and Liverpool University in the development of a cheap new drug called LAPDAP(tm). In order to make the best use of this drug, further research to combine it with another drug to protect against early resistance is being undertaken, managed under an umbrella organisation called the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), which DFID also supports. MMV is an important and innovative organisation that brings together researchers from the public and private sectors, with donors and foundations. DFID is funding MMV with £1 million per year for five years. Since its inception in 1999 MMV has demonstrated significant progress towards reaching its objective to deliver two new drugs in the next 10 years.

Effective health systems are equally important if medicines are to be delivered safely. Many poor countries still do not have the capacity to deliver treatments for malaria in a safe and effective way, regardless of their cost. This is why we have committed £1.5 billion since 1997 to help developing countries strengthen their health systems.

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