More than one million people die from Malaria every year. More than 80 percent of these deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and the majority are children under the age of 5. The disease costs the continent more than $12 billion in yearly Gross Domestic Product.
In June 2005, President Bush launched the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), pledging to increase U.S. malaria-related funding to an additional $1.2 billion over 5 years to cut deaths from malaria by half in 15 African countries.
PMI aims to reach 85 percent of the most vulnerable groups – children under 5 years of age and pregnant women – with the proven prevention and treatment measures of: indoor spraying of homes with insecticides, insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), anti-malarial drugs, and preventative treatment for pregnant women.
In the first year, PMI reached over 6 million people in the initial 3 countries with malaria prevention and treatment activities. In its second year of operation, more than 25 million people in Africa benefited from PMI-supported activities
With the 2008 U.S. Global Leadership Act to Fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, United States government funding increases to $5 billion, almost a 300 percent increase over current levels.
In 2008, the initiative expanded its reach in the African continent, adding an additional 8 target countries to the previous 7. By December 2008, in more than half of PMI focus countries, at least 70 percent of households will own an insecticide-treated mosquito net (ITN). In addition, artemisinin-based combination therapies will be available in more than 70 percent of public health facilities.
“In the overwhelming majority of cases, the victims are less than 5 years old. The toll of malaria is even more tragic because the disease itself is highly treatable and preventable,” said President Bush. “The world must take action,” he said. The United States will do its part.