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No More Malaria and Reaching the Last Mile Announce Expansion of Climate and Health Initiatives with New $5 Million Grant

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ABU DHABI – His Excellency Sheikh Theab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Executive Committee, witnessed No More Malaria (MNM) announce $5 million in incentives through the new three-year Reaching the Last Mile (RLM) initiative .

FHF is a coalition of leading health and technology organizations working to prevent the impacts of climate change from hampering progress towards disease elimination. Launched in 2020 with seed funding from the Reaching the Last Mile Initiative, FHF is at the forefront of these climate-based malaria elimination efforts.

Timely and targeted health interventions can be delivered more effectively by developing sophisticated forecasting and planning tools, and by designing supportive policies to help governments implement these tools.

The expanded partnership was signed by Nassar Al Mubarak, representing Reaching the Last Mile; Malaria No More CEO Martin Edlund and Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) Rector Professor Eric Xing.

HH Sheikh Theab commented: “We are proud to recommit to predicting the future of health and hope this marks another milestone in the UAE’s long-term fight against preventable disease that began decades ago with our founding father, the late Sheikh Hazayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.”

“Today, under the guidance of our new President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, we continue to work hand in hand with key players in global health to create real impact while upholding our values ​​by helping and empowering those in need to live healthier and more dignified lives.

“We celebrate with great optimism the new heights and potential we have reached together. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the FHF team and its partners, supported by our world-class university partner MBZUAI, we look forward to eradicating this disease and moving closer to a malaria-free world.”

Malaria is one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases, destroying families and perpetuating cycles of poverty in many communities and countries. According to the recently released World Malaria Report 2021 from the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria is estimated to cause 247 million cases and more than 619,000 deaths. Three-quarters of the deaths were among children under the age of five.

At a time when climate action is at the top of government agendas around the world, the impact of climate change on the elimination of malaria and other climate-sensitive infectious diseases is an issue that cannot be ignored. Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and extreme weather disrupt health systems and alter the range and seasonality of vector-borne diseases.

One species of mosquito in particular—Anopheles stephenii—has expanded its range into urban areas and has shown increasing resistance to insecticides. According to the WHO report, a new initiative was launched in September 2022 with the aim of stopping further spread of Stirrella by strengthening surveillance, improving information exchange and prioritizing research.

Progress toward eliminating malaria is accelerating. The World Malaria Report highlights that in 2021, 35 endemic countries recorded fewer than 1000 new malaria cases, and the five highest burden countries recorded a decline in deaths. These successes demonstrate that the right tools and funding can save lives.

RLM’s latest $5 million commitment builds on an introductory $1.5 million award offered in 2020 to assess the feasibility of a climate-informed malaria strategy. The initiative is also supported by IBM’s The Weather Company, the Tableau Foundation, and others.

In January 2022, Forecasting Healthy Futures launched the new Institute for Malaria and Climate Solutions (IMACS), a global institute with a mission to fight malaria in the face of climate change and variable weather.

Phase 2 of the Predicting Healthy Futures Program includes the following key objectives:
• Raising awareness and taking action at the intersection of climate change and global health: Educate policy makers, thought leaders and donors about the growing impact of climate change on human health, promote investment in proactive technology-enabled solutions, and build Supportive policy reforms in health systems needed for resilience.

• Improving the Effectiveness of Disease Early Warning Systems: Expanding the network of experts driving the development of sophisticated early warning systems, demonstrating the role of artificial intelligence and new data sources in creating increasingly accurate prediction and response systems for malaria and other climate-sensitive infectious diseases potential disease.

• Support the implementation of forecasting and planning solutions: Provide technical support to health systems to tailor emerging solutions to local needs, integrate with existing systems and data sources, adopt policies and practices needed to sustain them, and impact effort and cost-effectiveness.

Edlund said: “After Egypt, the world is now turning its attention and hopes to the United Arab Emirates and next year’s COP28 to tackle climate change. Given the UAE’s long-standing leadership in eradicating disease, it is the ideal venue to focus on the complex impacts of climate change The impact of conditions on diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, Zika virus and other climate-sensitive diseases.”

“With the renewed commitment of foundational partners like Reaching the Last Mile, Forecasting Health Futures hopes to point the way forward for innovative global health solutions that can protect the health of the most vulnerable people and communities in the face of climate change. “

From December 2022, IMACS will operate in Indonesia together with the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Indonesian stakeholders from the public sector and academia.

Professor Xing said: “AI is becoming a powerful tool for researchers and policymakers to glean important insights from vast amounts of data, such as the data we have on malaria physiology and transmission, and its environmental and climatic context, to develop strategies for disease eradication. “

“Through machine learning, we can analyze vast amounts of satellite and atmospheric data in real time, predict trends, and guide ground teams to predict or identify risks and take action. As the world’s first graduate AI research university, we are proud to support Malaria No More and The Last Mile Foundation’s work to rid humanity of malaria once and for all.”

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