In an April 1 New York Times article entitled "Mission Accomplished, Nonprofits Go Out of Business," the headline suggests a troubling and dangerous idea: that the effort to end malaria deaths is nearing completion. This is not the case. While the world has made great progress, there is much more work to be done.
The challenges facing the malaria community are numerous and growing—including funding for malaria control, drug resistance, effective vaccine development and logistical challenges. Malaria deaths are on the decline, thanks to the hard work of so many in the malaria community. But it will take committed leadership, continued funding and sustainable successes to put an end to all malaria deaths. The world has come a long way, but there is still much to do.
Malaria No More is not shutting down—not today, not tomorrow. Malaria No More will continue to work diligently, every day, until no one in Africa is dying from malaria. In a photo caption, Malaria No More is incorrectly listed as closing its doors due to the success of a global effort to provide long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets. Getting nets to hundreds of millions of families is a major accomplishment of the entire malaria community, but is only one of many steps toward ending deaths.
Malaria No More's mission is to end malaria deaths in Africa. Upon accomplishment of that mission—and not a day sooner—the organization will no longer be needed and will go out of business. As long as families in Africa are at risk of dying from malaria, Malaria No More will work tirelessly and aggressively alongside our partners to end malaria deaths.
The premise of the article—that mission-driven nonprofits work to reach their goals and consequently shut their doors—is a good one. By focusing tirelessly on the goal, organizations drive for sustainable change and progress. Yet premature declarations of victory risk putting both the progress and the goal in jeopardy.
Malaria No More looks forward to the day when the world can accomplish the mission—that day, unfortunately, is not today. But with dedicated support and leadership from countries and individuals around the world, it is achievable.