Seoul, August 27, 2019 — Senior Korean government officials, foreign diplomats, and domestic and international civil society members explored opportunities for increasing the Republic of Korea’s leadership to improve global health and the impact of its support for the life-saving programs of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria.
The focus on global commitments to save lives by ending malaria and TB occurred at a High-Level Symposium on Korea’s Leadership in the global fight against these deadly but preventable diseases. The event was co-hosted by Malaria No More, alongside the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Global Fund, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, and Korean Advocates for Global Health.
H.E. Lee Taeho, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, and Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund, delivered keynote speeches. Vice Minister Taeho announced the Government of Korea commitment to “fulfill its due responsibility by significantly increasing its pledge to the Global Fund for 2020-2022.”
Panelists included: Dr. Ken Staley, the U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator; Dr. Jung Eun-Kyeong, Director of Korean Centers of Disease Control; and Dr. Lucica Ditiu, the Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership. Ambassador Joseph Yun, former U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, moderated.
“Korea has the technical capabilities, civil society, and financial resources to emerge as a leader in global health, and in the malaria fight,” said Josh Blumenfeld, Managing Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at Malaria No More. “The upcoming 6th Replenishment of the Global Fund presents a unique opportunity for the world – including the United States and Korea—to renew political and financial commitments to end the world’s oldest, deadliest disease within a generation,” said Blumenfeld, who also served as the symposium’s emcee.
Since 2000, global investments have reduced malaria deaths by 60% and malaria cases by 37%, saving seven million lives and preventing more than one billion cases. The U.S. leads on global funding for malaria control and elimination by supporting the Global Fund and the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Contributing nearly one-third of total pledges to date, the U.S. is the largest contributor to the Global Fund. PMI currently operates in 27 countries, and last year, protected more than 570 million people at risk of malaria.
Despite this tremendous progress, malaria cases are on the rise in the highest burden countries in Africa, and insecticide resistance is increasing across Africa, while drug-resistant malaria threatens progress in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia.
The Republic of Korea eliminated malaria in 1979, but the disease was reintroduced in 1993, demonstrating the challenges involved with maintaining malaria-free status when surrounding countries continue to have endemic malaria. The Korean Centers for Disease Control recently announced a five-year plan for re-eliminating malaria. Nearly 90 percent of cases are in communities near the Demilitarized Zone, between the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Civil Society in South Korea Joins the Malaria Fight
The Korea End Malaria Alliance (KEMA) also held its inaugural conference uniting a group of more than 70 Korean civil society organizations and private sector innovators dedicated to achieving malaria elimination. Malaria No More opened and participated in the conference.
“The malaria community is thrilled to welcome the Korea End Malaria Alliance to further support the global malaria fight,” said Kara Saleeby, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Malaria No More. “KEMA’s leadership on the Korean Peninsula and overseas is needed now more than ever to help accelerate the end of this deadly, yet preventable disease. The malaria community is fortunate to have this strong group of partners to support malaria elimination in the Republic of Korea and globally.”
About Malaria No More
Malaria No More is a global non-profit organization that 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.
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