(Tekst beschikbaar alleen in het Engels)
Good afternoon, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you on a subject of the utmost importance. Malaria is important to me because I find it unacceptable that so many people suffer and die from a disease which can be completely prevented and treated. Malaria is one of the key Millennium Development Goals which the United Nations want to achieve by 2015.
It is therefore also a global responsibility.
By making the fight against malaria a priority, we can help to eliminate a disease that affects millions around the world and costs billions of dollars in healthcare and lost productivity. When we prevent malaria infection, we not only save lives, but we accelerate progress in other health and development issues : the fight against poverty, lower school absenteeism, better maternal and child health. Health is the building block of all development, and when we invest in malaria, we invest in communities.
Our progress proves that when we invest in malaria, the return is high and the cost is low. The simple, proven tools to prevent and treat malaria represent some of the
most cost-effective health interventions of our time. Solutions such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets or indoor spraying have the potential to lift entire generations out of poverty.
But major challenges remain.
Despite progress, malaria still kills nearly 700,000 people a year, including one child every minute. Asia accounts for the second highest malaria burden, outside of Africa. Unfortunately, we also face enormous financial gaps and emerging resistance to antimalarial drugs. The anti-malaria campaign may therefore suffer a setback and some of the gains we achieved may be lost.
But the work being conducted here, at N.U.S., gives me hope. I am impressed to see your innovative research which leads to a better understanding of this disease and to new methods for combatting it. New drugs and antimalarial tools are of critical importance. This University is a crucial partner in the fight against malaria. I congratulate you on your work and thank you for your leadership in developing the next generation of tools that will help communities triumph over this disease.
Those of us who are deeply committed to the combat against malaria, need the support of new partners. May I add that philanthropy stands to play an enormous role in our investment. We need you to maintain our commitment for existing tools,
but also to increase investment in research and development.
Thank you very much for anything you can do to help the National University of Singapore and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership in their efforts. Your support, and your dedication to the fight against malaria, make all the difference.