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World Malaria Report 2013: Statement from CEO

Progress against global diseases is typically slow and incremental. But today, as the World Health Organization releases its annual report card [DOWNLOAD HERE] on the fight against malaria, we have the opportunity to celebrate a genuine breakthrough. According to this year’s report, we’ve made tremendous progress towards the goal of ending child deaths from malaria – in fact, we’re halfway there. Thanks to the cumulative effort of dozens of nations, millions of people, and billions of dollars, malaria mortality rates have fallen 51% among children under five years of age since 2000, and in the most-affected region, Africa, by 54%.

Today, we have truly turned a corner in the malaria fight and the broader campaign to end preventable child deaths. Progress against malaria is responsible for fully 20% of the reduction in child mortality since 2000.

Read CEO Martin Edlund's op-ed on CNN.com

The pace of progress to date has been dramatic, driven by the rapid scale-up of funding and delivery of life-saving malaria control commodities, especially insecticide treated mosquito nets. The U.S. Government has been the leader in investing in the fight against malaria through bipartisan support of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), created and launched by President George W. Bush in 2005, and the Global Fund, which the U.S. government has supported since its founding. President Obama recently expanded support to the Global Fund by committing to provide one dollar for every two dollars contributed by the rest of the world, up to $5 billion by 2016. And other countries are answering the call: the UK government has made investments in malaria control a major priority, and malaria endemic countries (including Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Cote d’Ivoire) have begun contributing to the Global Fund on top of their domestic spending on health.

These investments are paying off, not only in children’s lives saved but also in promoting stable, productive nations by keeping kids in school, workers at their jobs, and families financially secure. As Former Secretary of State Clinton recently stated, “fighting malaria is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing.” But while we have reduced malaria’s economic burden dramatically, 3.4 billion people – roughly half the globe – remain at risk of malaria, and over 200 million fall sick every year.

We need to build on recent progress by continuing to invest in the proven, life-saving tools for malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment that have gotten us this far. We also need to develop and deploy new, innovative tools – including the next generation of diagnostics, treatments, insecticides, and data and delivery systems, as well as a vaccine – that will enable us to end deaths from malaria and ultimately eradicate the disease.

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December 10, 2013 | by Martin Edlund

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Categories: Malaria Progress

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