On 9th December the Bishop of Newcastle asked a question in the House of Lords during exchanges on funding for developing a malaria vaccine:
The Lord Bishop of Newcastle: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his answers, but I am concerned that he cannot give a specific commitment that the cut in development aid funding will not affect the development of this vaccine.
Does the Minister accept that now is not the time to slacken our efforts in the search for a malaria vaccine? We have heard of hopeful improvements before, but history has shown that complacency and slacking off will lead to resurgence.
Does the Minister also accept that it has taken us more than four decades to recover the ground lost since the 1970s, when anti-malaria funding dried up, and that we must not allow that to happen again?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): My Lords, the right reverend Prelate raises an important element and I share her concern about ensuring that we can sustain the wins that have been gained in fighting malaria.
As I said in an earlier answer, one primary area where we have seen success is in our work through multilateral organisations. I am sure that the right reverend Prelate will have seen our recent support for the World Health Organization, for example, and the strength, political capital and money that we have put behind the COVAX Facility.
Only this morning, I was talking to a Caribbean Foreign Minister about ensuring equitable development of the vaccine—we of course support that, but we also support equitable access and distribution, which will remain priorities.
I have been very open about not being able to give specific figures for our support for fighting malaria because we are still going through that process at the FCDO, but we do provide support through various funds and will continue to support the important development of the vaccine, I am sure.