World Malaria Day 2012 – Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria

As we join the rest of the world today in commemorating the world malaria day, we find this unique day as an opportunity to celebrate the success that have been achieved in the last few years in the fight against malaria.

The African continent has recorded one of the most impressive stories of the fight against malaria where malaria deaths have been cut by one third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced cases by 50% in the same time period. In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.[1]

Nevertheless, for these successes to be maintained and improved upon, much more investment is needed to sustain the gains achieved in the last few years.  As an African advocate for increased funding in the fight against malaria, we call on all stakeholders in the government, civil society and private sector to be proactively committed to increase support and funding for global malaria programs.

Around half the world’s population is at risk from malaria; it is a preventable and treatable disease, but it still claims the life of a child every minute. Over 90% of all deaths from malaria are in Africa.[2] Just by scaling up efforts to prevent malaria, including universal coverage of mosquito nets, we will save the lives of an estimated three million African children by 2015.[3]

 “We cannot take recent successes [in fighting malaria] for granted. Gains are fragile. Sustaining them will require our continued commitment, innovative thinking and financial support… we will need to push even harder to sustain the benefits of prevention, press further to reduce infections, invest in human capacity and ensure universal access to diagnostics and treatment, all while aiming to eliminate the disease in as many places as possible.” [4]

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

[1] RBM Theme for World Malaria Day 2012

[3] RMB Progress and Impact series report: “Saving Lives with Malaria Control” Sept 2010: /ProgressImpactSeries/report3.html

[4] Forward to RBM P&I series report “Decade of Partnership and Results” Sept 2011 /ProgressImpactSeries/docs/report8‐en.pdf

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