ExxonMobil to support innovative new Malaria elimination strategy in Southern Africa

Aug 12 2008, 15:50 IST
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SummaryExxon Mobil Corporation announced a $3.5-million grant to the Global Health Group at the University of California.

Exxon Mobil Corporation announced a $3.5-million grant to the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), to expand its core support for an unprecedented malaria elimination effort in southern Africa.

"To win the fight against malaria we must attack the disease on many fronts," said Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and chief executive officer. "ExxonMobil is committed to this battle, which is why we're doing everything we are -- from helping to develop new drugs, facilitating the delivery of insecticide treated bed nets to places where they are desperately needed and supporting programs that prevent the spread of the disease."

The UCSF Global Health Group and its partners currently provide significant support to Botswana and Swaziland in the development of strategic plans to eliminate malaria from those countries. The Group will use today's funding from ExxonMobil to build on this support, and expand it to additional southern African countries such as Namibia and Zanzibar. This work, conducted in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, is a cornerstone of the Global Health Group's Malaria Elimination Initiative, which seeks to eliminate the disease in several countries around the world, working inward from the natural global borders of the disease.

Funding will also allow the Global Health Group - Clinton Foundation partnership to support development and enhancement of critical cross-border initiatives between countries with low levels of malaria and their more heavily-affected neighbors, helping to control the disease and pave the way for elimination. Resources will also be used to support rigorous monitoring and evaluation, and sharing of lessons and experiences with the broader malaria elimination community. These efforts are conducted in support of the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) goal of eliminating malaria from the region.

"ExxonMobil has been a corporate leader in the fight against malaria and we are delighted by their support for our work," said Sir Richard Feachem, KBE, DSc(Med), PhD, director of the Global Health Group. "This funding will greatly strengthen the pioneering malaria control and elimination efforts under way in southern Africa and link them more effectively to similar work in other parts of the world."

Dr. Steven Phillips, medical projects director for ExxonMobil said it is vital to take a new regional approach if the battle against malaria is to be successfully transitioned from one aimed at controlling the disease to outright elimination.

"Malaria knows no borders, it cannot be eliminated in any one country unless we tackle it together as a regional strategy," said Dr. Phillips. "Elimination of this disease requires new levels of regional and international cooperation."

The funding to UCSF will bring ExxonMobil's commitment to organizations engaged in important community and social development projects in Africa to more than $130 million, which includes more than $50 million committed through the company's Africa Health Initiative.

The Africa Health Initiative was established in 2000 in support of the Abuja Declaration on Roll Back Malaria in Africa and its goal to halve malaria deaths by 2010. Since then, ExxonMobil has developed on-the-ground public-private partnerships to fight malaria at the community level, progress treatment and vaccine research and raise awareness and international support.

As part of those relationships, Dr. Phillips serves on the board of Malaria No More and as an advisor to the UN Special Envoy on Malaria.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite and transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito. With between 1 million and 3 million deaths annually and 3,000 children deaths daily, it remains one of the globe's leading infectious killers. The majority of its victims are children under the age of five and pregnant women.

Today's announcement brings to a total of twelve countries in Africa where anti-malaria efforts are being supported by ExxonMobil, the largest non-pharmaceutical corporate donor to malaria research and development efforts. The others are Angola, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Cameroon, Kenya and Uganda.

About Exxon Mobil Corporation

Exxon Mobil Corporation and ExxonMobil Foundation, the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States, engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and public policy in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations. In the United States, ExxonMobil supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12 and higher education levels. Globally, ExxonMobil provides funding to improve basic education and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries. In 2007, together with its employees and retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $207 million in contributions worldwide. Additional information on ExxonMobil's community partnerships and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community3.

About the UCSF Global Health Group

The Global Health Group (GHG) of the UCSF Global Health Sciences is an "Action Tank" dedicated to translating new public health approaches into large-scale action to improve the lives of millions of people. Led by Sir Richard Feachem - formerly the founding Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria - the GHG works across the spectrum from analysis to policy formulation, consensus building, international collaboration and large-scale implementation of programs worldwide.

The GHG's Malaria Elimination Initiative was established to support and enable malaria elimination initiatives around the world, including those in southern Africa, Melanesia and China. The GHG convened the Malaria Elimination Group, which brings together experts from the scientific, policy and program communities from 15 countries to provide guidance, advocacy and support to country and regional elimination efforts. The GHG conducts its southern Africa work through the Southern African Malaria Elimination Support Team, a jointly-funded partnership with the Clinton Foundation, as well as other key partners. For more information, please visit www.globalhealthsciences.ucsf.edu/ghg.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit www.ucsf.edu.

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