Hello, I’m Thomas Locke and this is Five Minutes, the podcast that brings you closer to the people fighting malaria.
In the final episode of 2018, I’m pleased to share this interview with Penny Mordaunt.
She’s the Secretary of State for International Development. Its aim is to build a safer and more prosperous world by tackling the global challenges of our time, including malaria.
Penny Mordaunt, thanks for joining me.
What is the UK currently doing to combat malaria?
We’re doing a whole raft of things. We are helping in a very immediate way with our aid budget, known as UK aid. We have about £14 billion a year to spend on delivering the Global Goals and we are using a large chunk of that to support healthcare. We’ve really stepped up our contribution to combating malaria and also helping build the healthcare systems that people need to support them. But we’re helping in other ways too, we have a fantastic science base in the UK with great connections into other academic institutions around the world. So we can look at things like the weather, we can look at where there are going to be big populations of mosquitoes and try to ensure that we’re giving ourselves all the best possible information to plan our campaign against malaria and ensure that people are protected.
The World Health Organization recently published their Annual Malaria Report where they detailed that we need to get ‘back on track’ with our response to malaria. What was your reaction to that?
Well, they’re absolutely right to have done that report because, unless we really keep up the momentum, we will lose the ground that we that we have achieved over the last few years. We have made a very strong commitment historically to fund all sorts of programs to combat malaria. We had originally made a pledge of £500 million and we have stepped that up this year. We’ve particularly done that focused through the Commonwealth because most of the areas left to tackle this are Commonwealth nations. We manage through our chairmanship of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit to get other nations to also step up, contribute and make sure they’re doing things in their own nations which are really going to tackle this issue.
As you’ve said, you’ve stepped up government funding against malaria by £100 million, you announced that in April of this year, what will that funding go towards?
It will go towards a whole variety of things some very low-cost immediate solutions but on a very large scale. We want to protect people with bed nets, we want to make sure that everyone has those. We also want to ensure that we’re laying down a legacy in the future as well, so we want to make sure that we’re joining up what we’re doing on malaria and training local people to provide education and primary health care systems that we want to see built. We want to make sure we’re joining that up with other health care programs that are out there so we can make sure that we’re getting the absolute most for all of the money that’s being put into different healthcare programs.
The last time we spoke was in September of this year. Then you told me that you and Bill Gates had struck a deal together. Could you give me an idea of how you and the Gates Foundation work together?
We do a huge amount of work with Bill and Melinda Gates and their fantastic foundation. They’re interested in all sorts of things, but particularly interested in healthcare and combating diseases. We invest with them in the UK science base, we discover new drugs, we are producing drought-resistant crops and combating animal disease as well because that’s how we ensure people have food security in these places. We do a huge amount of work with technology and science to really ensure that we’re doing things in the smartest possible way. And if we work together and we match fund, we can quite often improve our chances of other people, whether they’re governments or whether they’re philanthropic individuals or corporates, for them actually putting money in or resource in some other way. We have a great partnership, and it’s really valued by both sides I think.
Penny Mordaunt, thank you.
Thank you very much.
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