US investments remain critical in the fight to protect millions of the most vulnerable from malaria and to accelerate progress against the disease in years ahead
High malaria burden countries India, Uganda mark impressive gains between 2017-2018
Seattle, December 3, 2019— Malaria No More welcomes the latest global figures in this year’s World Health Organization World Malaria Report 2019 showing the world’s malaria burden remained at all-time lows, with 228 million malaria cases and 405,000 malaria-related deaths estimated for 2018, and an increasing number of countries – 49 – moving toward malaria elimination.
However, according to the report, malaria continues to disproportionately impact pregnant women and children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. Global efforts need to accelerate declines in malaria deaths and cases in countries with the highest malaria burden to achieve ambitious global goals of ending the disease within a generation.
“Every year, global investments and actions save nearly 600,000 lives and prevent almost 100 million malaria cases. But malaria is a disease of inequity, and too many people – especially pregnant women and young children in sub-Saharan Africa – are still suffering needlessly from this preventable and treatable disease,” said Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More. “New reports show that we can end this disease by closing a $2 billion annual funding gap that will scale up life-saving malaria interventions, develop new tools to counteract drug- and insecticide-resistance, and bend the curve to stop people dying from mosquito bites.”
Global efforts to-date have saved more than 7.5 million lives and prevented more than 1 billion malaria cases since 2000.
U.S. leadership critical to malaria fight
In 2018, the U.S. provided approximately 37% of total global funding for global malaria control and elimination efforts. Ongoing investments are made through the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative operating in 27 of the highest malaria burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the Greater Mekong region; and, research and development through numerous government agencies. In October, Congress pledged $1.56 billion in annual funding to the Global Fund for its 2020-2022 cycle, one third of which support malaria efforts.
“U.S. leadership in the global fight against malaria is proving to be one of the best investments we can make to improve maternal health and child survival globally. Continued strong bipartisan support for increased funding will be critical to scaling up existing and new tools such as next generation bed nets and using data to ensure we’re getting the right tools to the right places at the right time,” said Josh Blumenfeld, Managing Director, Global Policy and Advocacy at Malaria No More.
In 2018, according to the report, an estimated 11 million pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa – almost 1/3 of all pregnancies – were infected with malaria and approximately 2/3 of these women received the recommended treatment that keeps them and their unborn child safe from malaria’s impact. In 2018, children under 5 accounted for 67% of all malaria deaths worldwide, resulting in a child dying every 2 minutes.
India’s significant progress continues in 2018
Of the 11 countries with the world’s highest malaria burdens, only India and Uganda reduced malaria cases – by 2.6 million and 1.5 million respectively – between 2017 and 2018. India’s progress, which amounts to a 28% drop, builds on a similarly significant reduction in cases between 2016 and 2017. In addition, according to the WHO report, India was the only high burden country to increase domestic funding to fight malaria, a critical component for advancing efforts in malaria-affected countries.
“India has become a global leader in the fight against malaria, more than doubling its funding in the last two years and showing what it takes to effectively drive down malaria cases and deaths,” said Dr Sanjeev Gaikwad, Malaria No More India’s Country Director. “As India works to become malaria-free by 2030, efforts must go even further in reaching the most vulnerable, and improving data and surveillance, including by engaging private sector health providers in the fight against malaria.”
New funding, increased use of data to save more lives and achieve zero malaria
To achieve ambitious global targets to end malaria, the report calls for accelerating the rate of progress against malaria by increasing funding levels to US$5 billion per year. The WHO estimates investments in malaria R&D reached $663 million, the highest level since a peak in 2009.
“Malaria No More is focused on delivering new sources of funding for the malaria fight, including innovative financing solutions and ensuring malaria-affected countries and donors alike prioritize sufficient resources to end this disease,” said Edlund. “We’re also creating new partnerships to support the use of real-time data to better target malaria tools and expand access to the most vulnerable,” he continued.
Since 2018, the global community, including Malaria No More, has taken steps towards accelerating progress against malaria. Earlier this year, government, non-government and private sector donors committed more than $14 billion for 2020-2022 to support the Global Fund, which provides 65% of all global financing for malaria programs. At the 2019 African Union Summit, African Heads of State and Government pledged to increase investments in domestic financing. Eleven African countries recently rolled out Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaigns to engage people at every level in the fight against malaria. And, last year, 53 Commonwealth leaders pledged to halve malaria cases and deaths by 2023 in Commonwealth countries.
For more information or interview requests, contact Michal Fishman at +1 504 220 2792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Malaria No More
Malaria No More envisions a world where no one dies from a mosquito bite. More than a decade 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.