On April 25th we observe World Malaria day, in hopes of highlighting the global effort to effectively control, and eventually wipe out this terrible disease. This year’s theme is “End Malaria For Good.”
About half of the world's population, nearly 3.2 billion people, is at risk for malaria. Most cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, but Asia, Latin America and even the Middle East, are also at risk.
Malaria is a deadly disease. In 2015, 214 million people became sick with malaria, and 438,000 of them died. But malaria is also preventable and curable, and there is good reason to believe that we can eliminate it altogether. This is borne out by the fact that between 2000 and 2015, when the global community intensified its efforts to control the disease, new cases among populations at risk fell by 37 percent globally. In that same period, malaria death rates among populations at risk fell by 60 percent among all age groups, and by 65 percent among children under 5.
Nonetheless, a child dies from malaria at least every two minutes, and hundreds of millions of people at risk of contracting malaria still do not receive the services they need.
The United States, in cooperation with its many partners, including host countries, multilateral organizations, and countless others, is redoubling its efforts to prevent and treat malaria. With approval from the U.S. Congress, next year, the United States will increase the budget for the President’s Malaria Initiative by $200 million.
This would allow the Initiative to expand its programs to almost 70 million additional people at risk of malaria, in Cameroon, Cote D'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Burkina Faso. The initiative would accelerate elimination efforts in Cambodia and Zambia, provide 13.7 million insecticide-treated nets to protect 27 million people in sub-Saharan Africa from malaria, and accelerate research, development, and evaluation of new malaria tools focused on vector control and medicines.
“The global malaria community stands within the reach of achieving the goals that we once thought were unimaginable: ending deaths from malaria and then eliminating malaria from the globe,” said Retired Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, the coordinator of U.S. Global Malaria Programs. “It is critically important that we build on this momentum.”