Senators Leahy and Graham, and Global Leaders Honored by Malaria No More

December 5th, 2014, Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, Malaria No More announced its awards to Congressional and private sector leaders in the fight against malaria at its annual Champions Breakfast, held at the Newseum. Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Ranking Member Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs were honored with the Malaria Vision Award for their leadership in prioritizing resources to fight the disease, helping to save millions of lives and protect the United States.

“It is devastating that this ancient disease still takes the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year,” Leahy said. “Together we have made great progress, but knowing that infectious diseases like malaria still threaten so many people is a stark reminder of how much is still to be done.”

The event highlighted the strong bipartisan leadership of these important champions, and the enormous impact the U.S. has made in this fight. Beyond the humanitarian impact in endemic countries, malaria remains a public health and national security threat for the U.S. as well with cases arriving on our shores every year, and sickening our service members deployed overseas.

“Malaria is a terrible infectious disease which continues to take the lives of too many around the world,” Graham said. “We must continue to take the necessary steps to protect vulnerable populations from this horrible disease.”

The U.S. is the top global funder of anti-malaria efforts, through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), headed by Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, and contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. As a featured speaker at the breakfast, former U.S. Ambassador Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund, highlighted the global successes achieved in the fight against malaria. The global commitment to fighting malaria was also honored through the Malaria Action Award, presented to the Right Honorable Stephen O’Brien, MP, a champion for global health programs in the U.K. Parliament. Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director, National Security Council, spoke about PMI’s role in that effort and Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom reinforced the government’s commitment to finally bringing an end to malaria.

“Investing in basic needs like health – like malaria control – is fundamental to economic growth, and critical to eliminating extreme poverty,” said Higginbottom. “If we can reduce the burden of diseases like malaria, we will be able to accelerate development, combat poverty, and drive inclusive economic growth that will lift countries out of dependence on assistance.”

Recent innovations that have contributed to major gains against the disease were also honored as rapid diagnostic test producer Alere received the Private Sector Excellence Award in front of over 90 attendees, including Congressional staff, diplomatic leaders from malaria endemic countries and other donor countries, as well as members of the global health and development community.

Malaria No More is a nonprofit focused on ending malaria deaths by engaging leaders, rallying the public, and delivering life-saving tools and education to families.

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