Last week, at the White House Summit on Global Development: Reflecting on Real Progress, President Barack Obama declared, “we reaffirm our belief that in the 21st century, no child should die from a mosquito bite.” The president is absolutely right and has again confirmed his steadfast commitment to winning the fight against malaria.
Since 2000, U.S. leadership has helped save the lives of more than 6 million people from malaria. That’s the equivalent of the population of Maryland—a remarkable achievement. It’s also part of the legacy that President Obama, former President George W. Bush, the United States Congress, and the American people are building.
When President Bush launched the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) in 2005, he called for $1.2 billion over five years “to combat malaria in 15 of the hardest-hit African nations.” A decade later, PMI continues to play a leading role in the fight. Today, four African countries are on track to eliminate malaria by 2020, and the global mortality rate from malaria has fallen by 60 percent since 2000.
Considerable financial resources are required to keep the momentum going, and President Obama and Congress continue to lead the way, ensuring that the United States is the global leader in funding the malaria fight.
This year, the president requested $874 million to fight malaria in fiscal year 2017, representing an increase of $200 million above last year’s funding level. Despite budgetary challenges and competing priorities, Congress also made the disease a priority by increasing funding for malaria by $71 million in the Senate and $171 million in the House of Representatives. By continuing to work together on behalf of the American people, the president and Congress can help save even more lives and bring the world closer to eliminating the threat of this deadly disease.
Despite this enormous progress, our work is far from done. A child still dies every two minutes from malaria. Continued U.S. leadership, sustained funding and strengthened partnerships can help us eliminate malaria in our generation, save millions of lives and cement our shared legacy in the fight.