Woman who beat malaria and HIV sparks MP rallying call

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A Kenyan woman who survived several bouts of malaria during pregnancy having already been diagnosed with HIV has inspired Foyle MLA Mark Durkan to declare 2016 a critical year in the fight against the mosquito-borne tropical disease.

Mr Durkan met Maurine Murenga at Westminster in support of the ‘Malaria No More‘ campaign.

Ms Murenga said: “As a mother from the shores of Lake Victoria, Western Kenya, I have lost count of the number of times I have been treated for malaria, including three times when I was pregnant with my son.

“I have experienced first-hand the devastating impact malaria has on families and communities, as well as the burden it places on already over-stretched and under-resourced health systems. I am so thankful for the UK’s support and hope that we can continue to work together to put an end to this devastating disease.”

Mr Durkan said: “I was delighted to meet Maurine who was a very powerful advocate for how investments in malaria and global health, including through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and malaria, have had a transformative impact for families and communities – particularly for those struggling against the dual effects of poverty and inequality.

“No one, anywhere, should die from a mosquito bite. With the right levels of funding, political leadership and continued commitment, the government can play a leading role in ending malaria deaths by 2030.

“Indeed, I have consistently called on the government to commit to the opportunity identified by the ‘Malaria No More’ campaign to halve malaria deaths by 2020, and back the proposals to accelerate the reduction in the death rate to zero beyond 2020. Thanks to the huge progress of the last 15 years, 6.2million lives have been saved. But it’s still all to play for – and without continued public, political and financial support we could see this progress reversed. 2016 will therefore be a critical year for building on the success to date, including with the replenishment of the Global Fund, and to determining the trajectory for the next phase of the campaign to make malaria no more.”

Malaria has claimed more lives than any other disease in human history. Today it claims the life of a child every minute, despite being preventable and costing less than a cup of tea to treat. It is also a major cause of poverty in Africa, costing an estimated £12billion a year in lost productivity.