1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
Volume 150, Issue 116
Thursday, May 4, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker
Funding to Combat Malaria
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: My question to you, leader, is on the issue of malaria. For all the years that I have been here and before, I have worked on the issue of malaria in Africa and spent a lot of time in the villages in Africa. I have been working to eradicate malaria forever from our continent.
I was very pleased that last spring the government made a $785 million investment towards malaria prevention to the Global Fund. The Global Fund spends about half its resources to procure and purchase drugs and mosquito nets to prevent malaria. Its goal is to eradicate malaria completely by 2030.
Honourable senators, when I go to the villages, a $10 net saves four children’s lives for five years. That’s what we can constructively do.
By increasing our funding for malaria control, we strengthen efforts enabling health professionals in countries like Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana to take the required precautions for this disease. These actions also reduced Ebola from spreading by a significant amount. However, leader, even with the funding that we have given to the Global Fund, it still struggles on establishing emergency responses and long-term responses as more diseases break out around the world.
I know you may not have an answer today and I respect that, but my concern today is that as new terrible diseases attack people, malaria will be forgotten.
I would like for you to tell us, what are the government’s plans to make sure that one day our earth is malaria free?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question and for her years-long commitment to eradicating malaria and other infectious diseases, particularly in Africa.
The honourable senator will know that governments of Canada, over the last 15 years, have consistently been part of the international Global Fund in this regard and working with the private sector, particularly the Gates Foundation, with respect to malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS.
The Senate will know that last September, the Minister of International Development, along with the Prime Minister, hosted the fifth Global Fund Replenishment Conference, which raised a total of US$12.9 billion to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030, with AIDS and tuberculosis being included in the fight on malaria.
Of the total global commitment, Canada pledged to invest $804 million over three years. That clearly goes a long way in continuing Canada’s engagement in the abolition of malaria from the scourge of the earth.
I would be happy to inquire further of the minister responsible whether there are further steps being contemplated in the next round of replenishment as it comes forward.
As well, senators will know that not this year but next year Canada will host the G7, and it is in that context that much of the impetus for the Global Fund has taken place. While I can’t commit for the government, obviously, this is one area where Canada has historically over a number of years used the opportunity to encourage further efforts.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your answer.
Leader, I always dream that one day we will not say “malaria, polio, TB or Ebola.” We will say “one-stop shopping.” In a village, whether a child has measles, smallpox or malaria doesn’t matter. The mother can lose the child.
May I ask that you please discuss with the minister whether we could move to looking not at what disease you have but that we have a comprehensive small clinic in places? Because when I go to the villages, I have to sometimes say to the people working on the ground, “This year is not malaria year because we will get no funds; maybe next year.” It should not be that we choose between diseases. We should be looking at one comprehensive approach to deal with all diseases. My worry is that the G7 will again focus just on polio because the polio lobby is so strong. So I urge you, Senator Harder, to look at a more comprehensive response.
Senator Harder: I will take up that with the minister responsible.