It could take up to 25 years to eradicate malaria from Africa according to billionaire businessman and co-founder of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates.
Mr Gates stated this in an exclusive interview with The Cable, where he was asked about lessons learnt from the recent eradication of polio, and how the experience can help in the eradication of Malaria from the African continent.
He said: “Moving to malaria which is a very awful disease not just to the kids it kills but many kids whose brains are permanently damaged, the economic effects you have with malaria.
If we don’t have new tools like vaccines or new ways of killing mosquitoes, it would probably take more than 25 years to get rid of malaria. If we get the new tools and they work, we think it can be done in under 20 years. So the malaria field is both trying to keep the number of deaths down, and we have to deal with the resistance that comes up, that the mosquitoes develop.”
The tech-billionaire added, “Likewise, the parasite becomes resistant towards drugs, so we always need new drugs. So we are trying to score two goals at once: reduce malaria deaths, sadly there are more malaria deaths in Nigeria than any other country in the world, by quite a bit.
Second, invent the tools to avoid the resistance causing the deaths to go back up and have tools that would get us to zero. So I am very enthusiastic about the work our malaria team is investing in some of these tools including the ones that have to do with killing mosquitoes and which makes a big difference.
So my hope is that we can get it done in less than 20 years. If the world stays focused on it, that should be possible.”