Admiral Ziemer's Farewell Message

Jan 18, 2017 |


I have had the distinct honor to lead the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) since 2006. I am deeply grateful for the strong support that PMI has enjoyed from two administrations and Congress. I want to thank both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama for their steadfast support and leadership.
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President George W. Bush provided the vision to create the Malaria Initiative. He has said, "... Americans believe that every life matters and every person counts." And, "we act because conscience demands it."

President Obama not only continued but expanded PMI's program efforts. And less than a year ago, President Obama called on the world to end malaria during his State of the Union address and requested increased resources for malaria control, underscoring the remarkable progress made in the fight against the disease. We can all celebrate the fact that through our collective efforts more than 6 million lives have been saved over the past decade, and many of these are African children who are already in secondary school and well on their way to productive lives.

I can say without reservation that this work has provided me with challenges and rewards as great as those I experienced while on active duty with the U.S. Navy ... except, perhaps, the thrill of landing aircraft aboard ships at sea!

As I complete my Presidential appointment and until President Trump appoints the next U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, I have no doubt that with our strong leadership team and our proven policy, strategy, and implementation framework solidly in place, PMI's important efforts will remain highly visible and continue to drive forward achieving life-saving impact and move us closer to a malaria-free world. While we continue to rightly celebrate progress, now is not the time to rest on our laurels. The recent WHO World Malaria Report 2016 points out that, although global access to key anti-malarial interventions has continued to improve, critical gaps in coverage and funding are jeopardizing the attainment of global targets set forth by the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 [PDF, 1.0MB]. The leadership of the U.S. Government has been globally recognized as a game-changer in the fight against malaria. I have every reason to believe that supporting countries in their efforts to provide access to malaria prevention and treatment for all people at risk will remain a priority under the new administration, with the same ongoing strong support from the White House and our U.S. Congress that we have seen since PMI's launch in 2005.

I'm often asked why PMI has been successful and of what I am most proud. There are two answers I share. The first, and most important, is the PMI team – the most professional, dedicated, passionate, and goal-oriented individuals I've ever been privileged to work alongside. Secondly, is the collective accomplishment and collaboration with YOU – our malaria partners. No other U.S. Government foreign assistance program has had the measurable impact in lives saved and disease reduction as PMI. You have been the wind behind the global recognition that PMI has achieved as a development best practice.

Finally, I'd like to reassure you that, while I will not be involved in the day-to-day work of PMI as I have been over the past decade, I also will not exactly be sailing off into the sunset. During the immediate future I will continue as a member of the new Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) Board and over the longer term will always continue to cheer for PMI from the sidelines and look for opportunities to continue to contribute to attain the vision of a malaria-free world.

Tim R.T. Ziemer signature
R.T. Ziemer
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (ret)
U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator

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