Dr. Ken Staley's Quarterly Message

Apr 24, 2019 |

As we mark World Malaria Day 2019, I want to thank the countless dedicated citizens in malaria endemic countries and their local and national government leadership, as well as our many partners—local and global. Together, our steadfast efforts in the fight against malaria have saved 7 million lives and prevented more than 1 billion malaria cases since 2000. World Malaria Day shines a light on our shared goal to end malaria within our lifetime.

I am proud of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative’s (PMI) major contributions in the global malaria fight, and of the United States’ unwavering commitment to ending malaria for good. In FY 2018, thanks to the bipartisan support from Congress, and the generosity of the American people, PMI benefited over 570 million people at risk of malaria—90 million more than in FY 2017

Community members in Uganda discuss how ITNs are saving lives.
Community members in Uganda describe how PMI-supported interventions such as indoor residual spraying are saving children's lives. Credit: Daudi Ochieng/PMI VectorLink

I had the opportunity to meet a few of these beneficiaries on a recent trip to Uganda: a country that PMI has partnered with since its launch in 2006. While there, I observed indoor residual spray campaign activities. I met with community members benefiting from their homes being treated with insecticide to prevent malaria. They told me how, just over a decade ago, funerals for children dying of malaria were held all the time. Now, thankfully, such deaths are rare.

The experiences of the community members I met are mirrored across the country. According to the World Malaria Report 2018, Uganda has seen an estimated 57% decline in malaria deaths. Even more impressive, malaria deaths in children under age five have declined by an estimated 70% since 2006. Although malaria is a relentless disease, and continued progress is far from guaranteed, the determination of families I visited in Busibira sub-county was inspiring.

A helicopter distributes ITNs in Buzi after Cyclone Idai
A helicopter distributes insecticide-treated nets to people displaced by Cyclone Idai in Buzi, Mozambique

For me, the visit was a reminder that everyone has an important role to play in the fight against malaria—a sentiment captured by the theme of this year’s World Malaria Day: Zero Malaria Starts with Me. I look forward to visiting more PMI partner countries in the coming months, learning about their experiences, and strengthening our joint efforts to beat malaria. The next phase in the fight will take bold commitments, collaboration, and data-driven problem solving by all partners.

Before closing, I wish to send thoughts to those affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. I commend the national leadership effort in each of these countries, and the many partners who are contributing to response efforts. I am proud of our PMI teams in each of these countries as well—they have supported country counterparts and taken swift action to ensure that critical malaria commodities are available to prevent and respond to malaria outbreaks in the aftermath.

Thank you for keeping up the fight against malaria. I look forward to partnering with you to further advance our global results before the next World Malaria Day.

Regards,

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Ken Staley, MD
U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator

 

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