Washington, D.C., March 17, 2021 – Malaria No More congratulates Raj Panjabi, MD, MPH, on his swift appointment as the next U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, and commends the nomination of former Ambassador Samantha Power as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the confirmation of Antony Blinken as Secretary of State.
Dr. Panjabi previously served as the founder and chief executive officer of Last Mile Health, as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a physician in the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and as an advisor for the World Health Organization’s Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response. As U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, Dr. Panjabi will be responsible for the oversight and coordination of all U.S. funding and activities relating to efforts to combat malaria. Raised in Liberia, Dr. Panjabi moved to the United States as a refugee of the Liberian civil war and has spent much of his career focused on community health care.
“Dr. Panjabi has a deep understanding of malaria, pandemics, and the importance of building strong health systems, starting with the empowerment of community health workers. Malaria hotspots also serve as blind spots in the health system where novel infectious diseases can emerge, so we must continue to strengthen frontline diagnostic capacity and surveillance networks to address these twin threats,“ said Martin Edlund, Chief Executive Officer of Malaria No More. “We look forward to working with Dr. Panjabi at this critical juncture in the malaria fight, to prevent deaths from malaria and COVID, and to accelerate the world’s progress toward ending malaria in our lifetimes.” Malaria No More also commends Dr. Kenneth Staley, outgoing Global Malaria Coordinator, for his innovative leadership of PMI since April of 2018. Under Dr. Staley’s tenure, PMI expanded its geographic reach in Africa, enhanced the use of data to guide decision making, and helped accelerate the transition to next generation bed nets to fight insecticide resistance.
Since its inception in 2005, and with strong bipartisan support and leadership from Congress, PMI has helped save 7.6 million lives and prevented 1.5 billion cases of malaria. Last year alone, PMI reached 570 million people across 27 high burden countries in sub-Saharan African and the Greater Mekong Subregion of Southeast Asia. In addition to reducing deaths from malaria and helping end extreme poverty, PMI’s work contributes to improving global health security by strengthening health systems and preventing millions of cases of malaria from overburdening health systems. Dr. Panjabi takes the helm of PMI at a critical time as COVID19 cases increase across Africa, threatening a resurgence of malaria cases as well.
Malaria No More congratulates Ambassador Samantha Power on her nomination as administrator to USAID. Through the nomination of Power, and the elevation of the Administrator to be a member of the National Security Council, the Biden Administration is making development and global health core pillars of American foreign policy. “Ambassador
Power is an excellent choice for the critical role of USAID Administrator, as a fierce advocate for robust American leadership, and a champion for foreign aid and development,” said Josh Blumenfeld, Managing Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at Malaria No More. “We look forward to working with Ambassador Power to keep the world on course to eliminate malaria, and to leverage a whole of government approach to achieving global health security.”
On January 26, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Antony Blinken to become the next Secretary of State. “Secretary Blinken has had a long and distinguished career in public service as a stalwart champion for American values and leadership,” said Blumenfeld. “I had the honor and privilege of working with Secretary Blinken in the Senate and look forward to collaborating with him and his team as we tackle the COVID19 crisis, work to eliminate malaria, reduce extreme poverty, and improve the lives and livelihoods of millions around the world.”
Malaria No More would also like to congratulate Anjali Kaur on her appointment as the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Asia at USAID. Kaur, MNM’s Senior Director of Asia Pacific from 2015 –2018, was instrumental in opening MNM’s India office and expanding our work across the region. Most recently Kaur served as the Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Anjali has a deep knowledge of – and networks across – the Asia Pacific region, and her collaborative, entrepreneurial approach will serve the Biden Administration well,” said Edlund.
As PMI celebrates its 15th year of impact, we look back on its accomplishments as one of the most efficient and effective global health programs. PMI’s leadership has been instrumental in scaling up every major innovation in the malaria campaign from long-lasting insecticide-treated net usage, and introducing rapid diagnostic tests at the community level through frontline health workers, to speeding the transition to more effective treatments for children and pregnant women, and harnessing data for better decision making. The 2020 World Malaria Report confirmed that malaria cases and deaths have reached their lowest levels ever. However, every two minutes, a child still dies of malaria and more than 229 million people were infected in 2019. We look forward to working with PMI and the new administration to end this treatable and preventable disease once and for all.
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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.