Mitchell sets out Britain's plan to tackle malaria and save lives of mothers and babies

WWARN Published Date

News Release | 31 December 2010 - The British Government today unveiled landmark plans to tackle malaria and prevent deaths during pregnancy and childbirth in a move that could save an unprecedented number of lives.

The first of two new Frameworks for Results provides a comprehensive strategy for how British aid money will deliver the Coalition Government’s commitments to help halve malaria deaths in at least ten hot spots in Africa and Asia.

The second Framework sets out how the UK will help to save the lives of at least 50,000 women and 250,000 newborns and enable at least 10 million couples to access family planning over the next five years.

The frameworks mark the biggest focus in recent British history on saving the lives of women and babies and the prevention of malaria deaths across the developing world. Both issues will be made a key priority across Britain’s overseas aid programmes.

Fragile and conflict countries, often neglected because they are difficult to work in, will receive an increase in support. Up to a third of malaria deaths and more than 50 per cent of maternal deaths occur in these countries.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "Every day over two thousand people die from malaria and almost a thousand women die during pregnancy or childbirth.  These deaths are all the more tragic because the vast majority could have been prevented.

"We will be relentless in driving down this terrible loss of life by hugely increasing our efforts, basing our actions on evidence; reaching more people with the right interventions; and by putting girls and women front and centre of our development work.

"Britain has a proud history of helping those in need. We are making our support go further by shifting the development agenda to one of accountability, impact and innovation – starting with malaria and maternal health."

Chancellor George Osborne said: “This Government’s longstanding promise and my personal commitment to tackling malaria have taken a step forward today. My determination comes from seeing firsthand the impact that this disease can have when I visited Uganda in 2007.

“Malaria costs lives and robs the world’s poorest countries of essential resources, with this one disease accounting for as much as 40% of all heath care costs in many African countries and reducing their GDP by as much as 1.3%. Yet, the interventions that we can make to prevent malaria deaths are remarkably cheep – a life-saving bed net costs as little as £5.

“The measures announced today will help to halve the number of deaths caused by malaria, supporting countries across the world and meaning that even in these difficult times, we will honour the promises we have made to the very poorest in the world.”

The detail

Britain will focus its aid in 18 of the worst-hit countries which account for over 89 % of all malarial deaths. The new plan will increase support for:

  • - Testing and Treatment: New ways of testing people to ensure malaria is accurately diagnosed and the right treatment is provided;
  • - Bed nets: Increase the number of life saving bed nets. Increased bed net coverage results in a decline in malaria deaths and illness;
  • - Protecting women:  Providing preventative malaria treatment to children and pregnant women. Each year an estimated 10,000 women and 200,000 infants die as a result of malaria during pregnancy;
  • - Research and innovation: Support the development of new treatments to combat malaria and prevent drug resistance; and
  • - Quality Health services: Train staff and improve the delivery of drugs.

Saving women and babies in pregnancy and childbirth
Efforts to enable women to choose whether, when and how many children to have and to make sure pregnancy and childbirth are safe will be scaled up in more than 17 countries across the world accounting for around two thirds of all maternal deaths. To deliver this the UK will prioritise:

- Family planning: Significantly increase availability of family planning to help prevent over 5 million unintended pregnancies and reduce deaths from unsafe abortion. Every year there are 75 million unintended pregnancies and 70,000 deaths from unsafe abortions;
- Safer births: Support over 2 million more women to deliver their babies safely, for example by training midwives;
- Adolescent girls: Enabling up to 1 million young women aged 15-19 to access family planning. Preventing pregnancy in girls younger than 16 — first by enabling them to stay in school — increases their life chances;
- The poorest: Ensuring that the health of the poorest 40% of women is improved in the countries where DFID works;
- Better healthcare: Providing quality healthcare including family planning, safe abortion, ante-natal care, safe delivery and emergency obstetric care, post natal and newborn care by skilled health workers;
- Harnessing UK expertise: Enabling British health experts to share their skills with doctors and nurses in developing countries.

Notes to editors
1. The Frameworks for Results can be viewed at:

2. The ambitious Frameworks are the result of extensive public consultation and draw on a comprehensive review of evidence to ensure that British aid will be targeted where it will have most impact.

3. For more details please contact the DFID press office on +44 (0)20 7023 0600