U.S. Launches Public-Private Partnerships to Battle Malaria

Sep 13, 2007 |

On April 25, as the United States marked its first Malaria Awareness Day and commemorated Africa Malaria Day, the U.S. Government announced three public-private partnerships to battle malaria. The announcement came on the day we stand in solidarity with people and communities across the globe in the fight against this disease, with great hope for a better future for African children and families.

In June 2005, President Bush revitalized the U.S. global malaria strategy through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and committed an additional $1.2 billion over five years to fight malaria. The goals of PMI are ambitious – reduce by 50 percent the number of deaths from malaria in 15 target countries by reaching 85 percent of the most vulnerable groups (children under 5 years of age and pregnant women) with proven and effective prevention and treatment measures.

Partnerships are at the heart of PMI’s strategy. Given the enormous burden of malaria and the ambitious target of reducing malaria deaths by half by 2010, effective partnerships, particularly at the country level, are essential to reach the maximum number of people. Community, faith-based, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are crucial to the success of malaria control efforts, and PMI is already working with 29 NGOs and local organizations.

At the White House Summit on Malaria last December 14, First Lady Laura Bush announced the Malaria Communities Program (MCP), a new grants program to provide $30 million over four years to new partners in order to support the efforts of communities and indigenous organizations to combat malaria at the local level in the 15 PMI focus countries with the goal of building sustainable malaria control programs in Africa.

At the Summit, President Bush also designated April 25, 2007, as "Malaria Awareness Day." The three new and unique partnerships announced as part of the Day’s observance will save lives and gift the gift of growing up to millions of people.

Uganda Long-Lasting Net (LLIN) Distribution

PMI, Malaria No More, and the Ugandan Ministry of Health announced a partnership to distribute 570,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs) to pregnant women, children under age 5, and other vulnerable populations in 26 districts in Uganda plagued by malaria.

Malaria is the leading cause of illness and death in Uganda, responsible for 40 percent of all outpatient hospital visits and 25 percent of all hospital admissions. Almost half of the inpatient hospital deaths of children under age 5 are due to malaria.

Those distributing the LLINs will also provide education and information to ensure that the nets are used properly to repel malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. The LLINs will be distributed with 1.8 million nets provided by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in a national distribution campaign in support of the Ugandan Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Program. This campaign to deliver nearly 2.4 million nets will protect over 3.6 million Ugandans and significantly raise household ownership of an insecticide-treated mosquito net from the present rate of 15 percent to about 50 percent.

Zambia LLIN Distribution

The U.S. Government and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GBC) announced a partnership to distribute more than 500,000 LLINs to some of the most vulnerable households in Zambia. Through PMI and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the American people have joined with the GBC and the Zambian government to provide protection against malaria for approximately 1 million Zambians with these nets.

This partnership will address critical linkages between malaria and HIV/AIDS in Zambia, which has prevalences for both diseases that are among the highest in the world. Malaria prevalence in Zambia has tripled over the past three decades. In a population of 10.2 million, there are up to 4 million clinical cases of malaria per year, accounting for 40 percent of outpatient visits and admissions to health care facilities, and as many as 50,000 deaths per year. People living with HIV/AIDS are extremely vulnerable to malaria and face an increased likelihood of death and debilitating illness. In 2005, an estimated 1.1 million adults and children were living with HIV in Zambia. An estimated 98,000 adults and children died from AIDS, leaving behind a growing number of AIDS orphans, whose numbers are currently estimated at 710,000.

The partnership will build on an existing HIV/AIDS platform, RAPIDS (Reaching HIV-Affected People with Integrated Development and Support), a consortium of six organizations that provides an integrated package of community-based prevention, treatment, and care support to orphans and vulnerable children and people living with HIV/AIDS in all nine provinces of Zambia. Consortium members include World Vision, Africare, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, the Salvation Army Zambia, and the Expanded Church Response. RAPIDS reaches more than 154,000 Zambian households through its network of 12,000 volunteer Zambian caregivers.

RAPIDS will use its established network of caregivers and its household approach to distribute and follow up on the LLINs. Through this partnership, all nets will be distributed before November – the beginning of the malaria season in Zambia. The RAPIDS home-based care program also will provide personal weekly or biweekly follow-up to check on the health of each patient and ensure the nets are being used properly.

Madagascar Integrated Measles/Malaria Campaign

In Madagascar, the U.S. Government, the American Red Cross, and Malaria No More announced a partnership to add mosquito nets to a planned integrated measles campaign and to provide community-based education for malaria prevention and proper use of nets to give the gift of growing up to nearly 1.4 million under age 5 on the island. 

The unique partnership supports the Madagascar government’s integrated campaign and the Measles Initiative Partners – American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the United Nations Foundation – along with the Canadian Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. PMI and Malaria No More will support this campaign by filling essential gaps in the comprehensive campaign plan, which includes LLINs, logistics, and monitoring and evaluation.

The integrated campaign will deliver measles vaccine, medication, polio vaccine, and now insecticide-treated mosquito nets for malaria prevention to pregnant women, children, and their mothers during this mass health campaign.

PMI is an interagency initiative led by USAID, with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CDC, as key partner. The goal of PMI is to assist national malaria control programs in cutting malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in the 15 focus countries in Africa by supporting a comprehensive malaria control effort led by national malaria control programs.

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