With record-breaking heat waves dominating summer forecasts worldwide, Malaria No More is sounding the alarm on increasing global health risks resulting from climate change, particularly a global rise in mosquito-borne diseases, which are among the most climate-sensitive diseases.
Rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns and extreme weather events are complicating efforts to eliminate malaria. This year’s UN-climate report projects vector-borne diseases in Africa, such as malaria and dengue, may double by 2050, and triple by 2080, due to global warming. The same report projects those at risk of malaria infection could increase by 134 million by 2030 in South Asia.
President Biden sounded the alarm on the impacts of climate change on the malaria fight in April for World Malaria Day, saying “as climate change causes warmer, wetter, and more extreme weather, malaria-carrying mosquitoes will be able to breed and spread their disease more easily,” adding that is why he is proud to host this September’s Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria in New York.
About 8.4 billion people – or almost 90 percent of the projected global population – could be exposed to malaria or dengue fever by 2080 if greenhouse gas emissions continue to surge, according to a recent study published in The Lancet Planetary Health. North America is included in that risk area, as the report predicts a potential “northward shift” of both the malaria and dengue-epidemic belts.
“Extreme heat, severe weather, and increasing temperatures are wreaking havoc on our collective health and contributing to an alarming uptick in cases of mosquito-borne diseases worldwide,” said Martin Edlund, Malaria No More CEO. “Today, as temperatures soar, the malaria fight is struggling to contain this deadly disease in endemic areas, like Africa and Southeast Asia; if these warming trends continue, hundreds of millions more people could be at risk of dying from a simple mosquito bite.”
To support governments in “climate proofing” their malaria elimination efforts, through the use of increasingly sophisticated technology, Malaria No More launched Forecasting Healthy Futures in 2020. The initiative advocates for investment in climate- informed tools and policies to help governments and partners better time and target effective health interventions in the face of changing weather patterns. In January 2022, the Institute for Malaria and Climate Solutions (IMACS) was launched as a virtual center of excellence to advance climate-informed malaria prediction and planning. The IMACS Malaria Prediction and Planning Toolkit today combines multiple sources of complex and dynamic data, applies advanced modeling techniques, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and produces simple decision support tools for malaria program managers in support of applying and effectively integrating in malaria control programs worldwide.
Given the impact climate change is having on human health and its disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria introduced a new strategy in 2021, highlighting the threat and impact of climate change, and calling for increased efforts to innovate, address, mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. To get back on track toward 2030 targets, including reducing the global malaria burden by 90%, the Global Fund aims to raise at least $18 billion at its 7th Replenishment this Fall.
The President’s Malaria Initiative also released its new five-year strategy in late 2021, highlighting the impact of climate change on global health and updating its strategic approach to reduce malaria mortality by adapting malaria services to “increase resilience against shocks,” including Covid-19 and climate change.
“Now is the time to step up investment in the global malaria fight. Increases to the President’s Malaria Initiative and at this year’s vital Global Fund Replenishment offer critical opportunities to put new climate forward plans into action and finally reverse not only covid setbacks but these increasing climate change challenges plaguing the malaria fight,” said Edlund.
For more information or interview requests, please contact Mindy Mizell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Malaria No More
Malaria No More envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. Fifteen years into our mission, our work has contributed to historic progress toward this goal. Now, we’re mobilizing the political commitment, funding, and innovation required to achieve what would be one of the greatest humanitarian accomplishments – ending malaria within our generation. For more information, visit www.malarianomore.org.
About Forecasting Healthy Futures
Forecasting Healthy Futures is a growing coalition of global health, technology, and public sector partners coming together to bring greater attention to the inequities at the intersection of global health and climate change, and to promote proactive, resilient solutions that use integrated data and artificial intelligence to anticipate and mitigate the worst health effects of a warming planet.