Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a historic milestone in a fight against malaria – Europe is free of this deadly disease.
Two decades ago, 90,000 people a year contracted malaria in Europe. Today, because of strong collaboration among government leaders, partners, and United Nations agencies such WHO that number is now zero.
As a global community, we truly have a lot to celebrate when it comes to progress in the fight against malaria. Elimination is in sight for many regions, including the Middle East, North Africa, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific. Malaria has moved from being the top cause of death for children under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa to being the fourth leading cause. Today, the mortality rate from malaria among children in sub-Saharan Africa is 70% lower than in 2000.
While these achievements represent major steps in the right direction, the only way to protect these gains and continue making progress is if every country eliminates malaria, resulting in eradication of this disease, which has plagued humankind for millennia. Children are still at risk for acquiring malaria, which currently takes the life of a child every two minutes.
With continued action, even more lives can be saved from malaria. WHO has set goals to reduce cases and deaths by 90% and to eliminate malaria in an additional 35 countries by 2030. Here are three ways to get involved:
Ask your leaders to support the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The Global Fund provides 58% of the international contributions towards the prevention and treatment of malaria (check out this video about their work on malaria). Every three years, governments, the private sector, and private foundations convene to pledge resources to this financial institution, which provides support to country-led efforts against these three diseases. The next pledging conference will happen this year, and funding decisions are currently being made. Urge your representatives to pledge robust funding for the Global Fund this year.
Participate in the Call Your Shot Challenge.
Take a moment to film your most creative trick shot and post it to social media with the hashtag #CallYourShot, challenge your friends to do the same, and make a donation at CallYourShot.org.
Check out the End Malaria for Good and The President’s Malaria Initiative Annual Report to Congress.