Chairman’s Statement 2017-2108
This will be my last foreword as Chairman of IVCC. I have had the pleasure and honour of being involved with IVCC from the time when Janet Hemingway as Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine proposed the concept to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) through the setting up of IVCC as an independent organisation and the transition to Nick Hamon as Chief Executive.
I am delighted to be able to hand over the Chairmanship of the IVCC board to Sir Stephen O’Brien. New Chairman Stephen has had a lifelong interest in malaria, from having been born in Tanzania and working on a student trip in Africa collecting material for a malaria research project, to his subsequent positions as a minister and UN Under Secretary General. After two decades in law and business, Stephen entered Parliament and was both Under Secretary of State for International Development and the Prime Minister’s Envoy and UK Special Representative for the Sahel and then UN UnderSecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs & Emergency Relief Coordinator. This wide experience and long-term interest in work on malaria, including being a former board member of both IVCC and the Liverpool School until as a minister he had to step down, makes Stephen uniquely qualified. Both I and the board are delighted that he has agreed to take over as Chairman. Stephen was present at our first overseas board meeting in Tanzania, and the board visit to the test sites at Moshi, funded by IVCC and the first in the field to achieve Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) certification.
The year has been an exciting one. The original goal of developing three new active ingredients to combat resistance in vectors is almost achieved. We are now in the final stages of qualification and delivery of new tools, with some new products already on the market. ZERO by 40 The launch of ZERO by 40 at the Commonwealth Heads of Governments meeting in London will prove to be a real turning point in confirming industry’s commitment to what is a vital but essentially non-commerical activity for companies. ZERO by 40 saw the major research based agrochemical companies making historical commitments to work together and share expertise to eradicate malaria.
The challenge of the ongoing funding of the major initial goals of IVCC used to be a major concern. It is encouraging to see continued success in attracting funding for wide goals of not just developing the products but bringing them into the public health market. The grant from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of A$18.75m to support their Indo-Pacific Health Security Initiative is just such additional support as is the $66 million awarded by Unitaid and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria to support the introduction of novel dual active ingredients long lasting insecticide treated nets. We are very grateful to those organisations for this additional support and congratulations to Nick and the team for developing the projects.
When IVCC started, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was our sole funder. The success that this enabled, combined with ongoing and increasing support from the foundation, has meant that Nick and the team have been able to grow other sources – UKaid, The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Unitaid, the Global Fund, DFAT and USAID. With the support of these donors, BMGF is now less than half of our funding. At the same time we are now able to begin addressing the many challenges beyond our initial goals – not just implementation but issues such as outdoor biting and alternative means of delivery of vector control such as attractive targeted sugar baits (ATSB).
Widening the range of our tools and support will be essential as we move to elimination. Bill Gates has famously said that his aim is to eradicate malaria as a disease in his lifetime and has generously committed resources from the BMGF to that aim. We in IVCC are proud of our contribution to this collective effort. Although I am much older than Bill, it is now not beyond the realms of possibility that even I might live to see this. I am enormously grateful to all our funders, to the creative team at IVCC led by Nick and to our industry partners in ZERO by 40. They are all deserving of congratulation for their commitments and vision.