Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on countries to intensify their efforts to combat malaria, stressing that despite remarkable progress in recent years, much more needs to be done to end the “monumental tragedy” of one child dying every minute from the disease.
In his message to mark World Malaria Day, Mr. Ban highlighted the role international partnerships between governments, international agencies, donors, corporations and civil society organizations, among other actors, which have saved millions of lives through their work.
“A global coalition has boosted proven strategies, including long-lasting insecticidal nets, indoor spraying, rapid diagnostic tests and anti-malaria medicines for populations at risk,” Mr. Ban said. “More children are sleeping safely under nets, more families are gathering in rooms protected from mosquitoes, more communities have access to testing, and more patients get the medicines they need to recover.”
Malaria, which is caused by a parasite transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes, infects 216 million people and kills nearly 650,000 people around the world every year, with most of the deaths occurring in Africa.
Mr. Ban called for countries to collectively pledge to close the $3.2 billion funding gap to achieve universal coverage in Africa up to 2015, and ultimately eliminate the disease.
“Now is the time to push for much greater progress,” Mr. Ban said, emphasizing that there should be no excuses about making “smart and affordable” investments in malaria interventions as the costs are relatively low. A rapid diagnostic test costs 50 cents, while a course of an anti-malaria drug costs only about $1. A bed net that lasts three years and can protect several children costs approximately $5.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also presented an award to Princess Astrid of Belgium, the Special Representative to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, for her work in the fight against malaria at an event in New York. Malaria champions such as Ray Chambers , the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, and basketball star Shaquille O’Neal were among other guests at the NETworking Reception at UN Headquarters.
During the past decade, global malaria prevention and control efforts have been scaled up, with notable progress in sub-Saharan Africa. However, malaria transmission still occurs in 99 countries around the world. In 2010, this entirely preventable and treatable disease caused an estimated 655,000 deaths worldwide. About 560,000 of the victims were children under five years of age. On the occasion of World Malaria Day, 25 April 2012, the World Health Organization launches a new initiative to urge countries and donors to reinforce the malaria fight.
For more information: http://www.who.int/malaria
Message on World Malaria Day
Nothing But Nets Campaign
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa.
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