‘India absent from Malaria Summit in London’

New Delhi, April 19 : India was conspicuous by its absence from the Malaria Summit in London alongside the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) despite having the third largest malaria cases in the world after Congo and Nigeria, a body partnering in a campaign against the disease said on Thursday.

"India did not have a representative to participate in the summit," said the MSL Group, the communications partner of Malaria No More (MNM) in India.

MNM is a global non-profit body involved in the campaign on behalf of the global malaria community.

"India did not participate in the summit, so there is no (India) commitment," said Lakshay Kapur, Public Affairs Executive of the MSL Group, in reply to a query on the Indian government's financial commitment to the cause.

One in seven Indians is at risk of contracting malaria.

The Summit on Wednesday expected world leaders, mainly from malaria-risk countries like India, to express their commitment to beat the disease worldwide.

On Tuesday, James Whiting, Executive Director, Malaria No More (MNM) UK, had told IANS: "India is central to this achievement (elimination of malaria from the Commonwealth countries).

We look forward to hear the strategy India is working on to eliminate malaria by 2030."

The summit expected the world leaders to renew their financial and political commitments to continue the fight against malaria, which is showing signs of fighting back.

Malaria cases rose to 216 million globally in 2016, five million more than a year ago.

"In 2016, for the first time in years, the number of malaria cases in the world went up.

This is not a blip. It is not noise. It is a signal. What it signals is this: We have reached the point of diminishing returns from our current strategy," Microsoft founder Bill Gates said at the summit.

The Malaria Summit saw 14 heads of state and government, scientists and private sector and international organisations making significant commitments to catalyse progress towards beating malaria at a time when efforts to end the preventable disease have stalled.

"High-level political commitment to beat malaria were made by the heads of government and Ministers from 19 Commonwealth countries," said a Malaria Summit communique shared by the MSL Group.

The summit featured collective commitments worth over 4.1 billion dollars from governments, private sector, philanthropists and international organisations.



Source: IANS