Belize among 8 countries to benefit from project to eliminate malaria

By Marion Ali, Assistant Editor

Belize is among eight countries that will benefit from a project to eliminate malaria, through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carlos Slim Foundation.

The organizations announced on Thursday that they will support the countries, including Belize and the Dominican Republic to take the final steps necessary to obliterate the disease altogether.

The funds will be provided as follows: the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative (RMEI) will provide US$83.6 million in new funds, and will attract another US$100 million in domestic financing, plus US$39 million of existing donor resources. These should be realised across the region by the year 2022, and will be used to prioritise malaria as a top health and development issue, even though the number of cases have been decreasing.

The monies will be invested on technical aspects to fight the disease in the countries designated. The IDB will make available up to US$37.1 million to countries to participate in the effort. In addition, the Gates Foundation will provide US$31.5 million in a result based payment system. This financing mechanism allows the IDB to give countries access to concessional funding they may not otherwise be able to obtain for malaria programs.

The Carlos Slim Foundation will add US$15 million to the initiative, which will also allow RMEI to look at areas to expand into other countries like Mexico and Colombia.

The concept of the RMEI was developed with the support of the End Malaria Council (EMC), a group of global public sector and business leaders dedicated to accelerating the end of malaria.

Aside from Belize and the Dominican Republic, the other countries chosen to benefit from the initiative are Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

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