World Malaria Day 2008

April 25, 2008

April 25, 2008, is World Malaria Day. I’ve purchased some bednets thorugh Nothing But Nets to help fight malaria. Educating others about the disease is one of the chief goals, too.

Will you help, please?

See the statement from the World Malaria Day community below; pass it along to someone else.

A Malaria Community Statement –

April 25th is World Malaria Day and also Malaria Awareness Day in the United States. In observance of this day and in recognition of the tremendous opportunities to reduce the burden that malaria imposes on the health of people worldwide, we, the Malaria Community, stand in support of the following statement.

We Have Made Progress

Dynamic new public and private partnerships and renewed commitments to strengthen
longstanding efforts to combat malaria are showing positive results. Global partners include
bilateral, multilateral and U.N. programs, faith-based groups, business coalitions and private
foundations. The single largest U.S.-funded malaria program, the President’s Malaria Initiative
(PMI), has accomplished the following:

  • Indoor residual spraying benefiting more than 17 million people;
  • Procurement and distribution of 5 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets;
  • Procurement of 12.6 million artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) treatments and training of more than 28,000 health workers in use of ACTs; and
  • Procurement of malaria treatment for more than 4 million pregnant women.

Expanding Access to Current Interventions

It is imperative that stakeholders in the fight against malaria maximize global access to existing proven interventions including insecticide-treated nets, indoor residual spraying with insecticides, and effective medications. Through generous donor contributions, access to essential interventions is improving—yielding dramatic successes in places like Ethiopia and Rwanda where malaria infections and deaths have decreased by more than 50 percent. But the availability of interventions is only half the battle. We must find means to expand delivery of proven interventions, strengthen the capacity of partner countries to administer basic interventions at the community level, share best practices across countries, and motivate individuals to protect themselves and their families.

Investing in New Tools

Simultaneously, we must increase investment in developing new, improved technologies for controlling malaria, including effective drugs, insecticides, and vaccines. Resistance to the most commonly prescribed drugs in most countries has been rapidly increasing. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) must be readily available and affordable, and new therapies must be developed to prevent resistance to ACTs and eventually replace them. The U.S. government’s commitment to expedite the development of highly effective malaria vaccines is needed now, understanding that the process will take significant time and investment. The potential of developing a vaccine of even limited efficacy could have a significant impact on deaths and illness, especially among infants and young children.

Global Problem, Local Solutions

Achieving results will also depend on the effective engagement of national, regional and local governments in the effective deployment of malaria control tools. To guarantee the best use of resources, steps must be taken to ensure that anti-malaria tools, research and investment reach the communities that need them the most, while ensuring that no community is left unsupported. Community-based efforts to deliver malaria prevention and treatment programs must inform the development of the comprehensive global strategy needed so that efforts can be sustained over time. All stakeholders need to be engaged in thoughtful, coordinated planning that brings to bear the best evidence from all levels of efforts to control or eliminate malaria while addressing changes in the epidemiology of the disease.

Note carefully and well that the major organizations fighting malaria neither slam Rachel Carson, whose methods they use to fight malaria today, nor call for a return to wholesale poisoning of Africa and Asia with DDT, but instead urge wise use of resources including an expansion of health care to aid the human victims of malaria.  Malaria is the problem, not science.

World Malaria Day is a logical extension of Earth Day; the two are not in opposition.

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