Monday, November 11, 2013, we celebrated our annual Malaria No More International Honors and its honorees: Hillary Clinton, Time Warner’s Gary Ginsberg and Novartis.
Secretary Clinton celebrated recent progress in the malaria fight, and emphasized the critical role of malaria treatment in her speech. Read the full transcript below.
I want to thank everyone at Malaria No More for your remarkable work.
And I want to thank Admiral Ziemer for his leadership of the President’s Malaria Initiative. I’m very grateful to him.
It was very touching to see all the honorees coming up. As Gary said, I’ve known him for a long time, when he showed up in Little Rock all those years ago.
The headquarters for the presidential campaign was in an old paint store and he probably thought to himself what did I get into. But he has been a terrific servant for the public good and government. Obviously very successful in business, but mostly a really dear friend.
I also want to thank Dr. Reinhardt and Novartis for what (they) are doing and what (they) plan to do. It is truly impressive to hear (their) dedication and support for this cause.
As I said, there’s a lot to celebrate and we are doing that tonight by recognizing, as you’ve already heard, that since 2006, malaria is down by about a third in Africa.
Malaria No More has reached 5.6 million people with mosquito nets, including universal coverage in Senegal. Half a million people in Cameroon.
During the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, (Malaria No More) reached hundreds of millions of African through (their) malaria education campaigns, spreading the word about what worked. Rapid diagnostic tests, treatment, bed nets, spraying, and more.
And I am very proud of the role the United States has played.
And Peter is absolutely right. This is a reflection of the generosity of the American people. It’s been a bipartisan commitment. President George W. Bush’s Administration launched the President’s Malaria Initiative, and steadily increased its funding all the way to $300 million. The Obama Administration built on this solid foundation. And at the State Department and USAID, we did put malaria at the heart of our health diplomacy. Funding has more than doubled. It’s expanded to include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and a regional program for the greater Mekong Delta in Southeast Asia.
We have seen improvements in every metric as more and more nations are stepping up to be part of the solution for their own people. They are mobilizing the political will, as well as the resources that are needed.
Since 2006, 12 of the original focus countries have seen reductions in childhood mortality rates, ranging from 16 to 50 percent.
In 2012 alone, the United States and our partners protected more than 50 million people with prevention measures, such as insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying.
And, as you’ve already heard, the distribution of life-saving drugs has been a total life-saving, game-changing event for so many families and their children.
Now, next month in Washington the United States will host what’s called a replenishment conference for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
We also continue the search for a vaccine that could help us eliminate this disease once and for all.
But we still have a long way to go.
Every minute a child dying is heartbreaking. And (a lot of) those deaths are among African, school-age children. It is estimated to cost African economies $12 billion every year.
Now, women and girls do the burden. Pregnant women in particular are at high risk because of decreased immunity and malaria in pregnancy can cause anemia—a condition responsible for 10,000 maternal deaths annually, still-birth, premature-birth, low-birth weight.
Malaria also exacerbates and feeds off political instability. In places like South Sudan, and eastern Congo, fragile health infrastructure has been weakened by conflict. And internally displaced persons and refugees are particularly vulnerable to infection.
I would also add climate change is a factor. Higher temperatures allow the vector that delivers malaria to spread to new areas.
So, we need to stay focused and support the work of Malaria No More and others on the front lines. And we need to remember, even in a time of tight budgets for governments and corporations, that fighting malaria is urgent, affordable, and irreplaceable.
Prevention and treatment are not expensive. An insecticide-treated net costs less than $7, and the-life saving treatment we’ve heard about tonight—only $1 to buy and deliver to a child, as Malaria No More’s Power of One campaign has show.
According to a recent study, every $1 spent on malaria control produces $40 in additional productivity in those societies. What’s better than that? Healthy people, mean healthy communities, and that means more prosperity and more peace.
So, fighting malaria is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing. It’s in keeping with our values and it is in America’s strategic interest.
So, with continued leadership from the United States, both in our public and private sectors, working to support our non-governmental organizations that are on the front lines, and working more closely now with partner countries, we can take the force of our innovation, dedication, and generosity to keep the progress against malaria going and growing until we do eliminate this ancient scourge.
So, I am just very please to be here. I’m grateful to you for the work you have been doing and will do. I am honored to accept this on behalf of the great team at the State Department and USAID that has been working on behalf of eradicating and preventing malaria, and pledge to you, that I am convinced, if we continue this struggle, it won’t be too very long before we see even greater progress. More lives saved. More peace. More prosperity. Because of the generosity of people like you.
Thank you very much.