Published: Apr 25, 2011 7:41 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 25, 2011 4:41 PM EDT

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. chief's envoy for malaria says a $5 billion campaign has saved several hundred thousand lives in recent years, keeping international efforts on track to virtually end deaths from the mosquito-borne disease by 2015.
    
The U.N. says about 780,000 people, mostly babies and toddlers in sub-Saharan Africa, now die from malaria annually, down from nearly 1 million in 2008.
    
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's envoy, U.S. philanthropist Ray Chambers, says a new malaria initiative announced Monday by Harvard University should significantly help international efforts to wipe out the disease. He encouraged other universities to follow suit.
    
Chambers is a New Jersey entrepreneur and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Malaria No More.