On April 25, people across the globe will take part in a wide range of activities to mark World Malaria Day 2013. These activities will no doubt look back at the remarkable progress that the global development community has made in combating malaria and indeed other infectious diseases over the years. However, one of the key lessons other infectious disease control has shown is that when there is an opportunity to control the spread of disease, it must be taken. Therefore now is the time for the malaria community to regroup, re energize and look ahead to “invest in the future: defeat malaria”.
Investments in malaria control have created unprecedented momentum and yielded remarkable returns in the past years. In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced cases by 50% in the same time period. In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.
These great strides are now under threat; the focus on malaria control is beginning to fade and has led to insufficient financial support. With an annual shortage of US$3.6 billion, particularly across Africa where high-burden countries are facing critical funding gaps, all the impressive gains in malaria control over the past decade are threatening to grind to a halt and in some cases reverse. To avoid this, further investment must be made to ensure that this funding gap is bridged and that the endemic countries have the resources and technical support they need. Only then will it be possible to finish the job and see that malaria is eliminated worldwide.
The Roll Back Malaria campaign “Invest in the future: defeat malaria” will help strengthen the political will across the world and will contribute to increase the funding needed to control malaria in endemic countries.
This year Partners are also invited to support #thebigpush campaign by linking it to their World Malaria Day messaging and communications.
#thebigpush is a digital campaign launched on September 24 2012 as a platform for galvanizing support for global health.