Global Leaders Unite Against Malaria

United Nations Foundation Challenges Donors To Help Raise $500,000 For Malaria Efforts In Africa

Washington, D.C.

April 26, 2005


Megan Rabbitt

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Youssou N’Dour, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Grammy award-winning African musician, Jack Valenti, President, Friends of the Global Fight, Timothy E. Wirth, President, The United Nations Foundation, and Jack C. Chow, Assistant Director General, The World Health Organization, held a press conference today to recognize American support of the fight against malaria. Marking the first ever United States commemoration of Africa Malaria Day, the event was part of a global effort to build awareness of the crippling effects of malaria on the world’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Year after year, more than one million people in Senegal are affected by malaria,” said Youssou N’Dour, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and one of the most celebrated African musicians in history, who traveled from Senegal as a witness of the devastating impact of malaria. “Not only does the disease take a terrible human toll, it cripples the economic development of Africa. Businesses operate below capacity and classrooms are filled with the empty chairs of children who have malaria. But we have hope, because there are effective tools to prevent and treat malaria, and with resources from the United States we can fight this silent epidemic.”

In the United States, response to the global malaria epidemic is on the rise due in large part to the arrival of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the birth of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and increased leadership from U.S. lawmakers.

“To those who have been given much, much is required. Nations as blessed as ours will be judged according to how we cared for the weak, the sick, the vulnerable. Malaria is a curable and controllable disease for only a few dollars a person, yet it is still the leading killer of children in Africa. Now is the time to turn the talk about controlling malaria into aggressive, effective, and accountable action,” said U.S. Senator Sam Brownback.

The Global Fund is the main mechanism used by the United States to fight malaria globally. To date, the U.S. has contributed a total of $1.1 billion to the Global Fund.

“Overcoming the human misery and economic destruction caused by malaria can mean a million mothers in Africa won’t have to watch their children die from a preventable and completely treatable disease. Achieving this goal will require on-going U.S. leadership and a strong global partnership with enough resources to focus on both innovation as well as expanding the basic interventions at the community level that have proven to save lives,” said U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum.

Timothy E. Wirth, President of The United Nations Foundation and former United States Senator, announced a challenge to donors around the world to help raise $500,000 for malaria efforts in Africa. For every four dollars donated to the United Nations Foundation in support of the Global Fund in the coming days, the Foundation will match with one dollar up to $100,000.

“Turning a corner on the malaria epidemic will take a united effort. The United Nations has been leading the way in this fight and with the help of citizens around the globe, we can help African children lie down to sleep without a fear of waking up infected with this deadly disease,” said Timothy E. Wirth, UN Foundation President. “Malaria is preventable, treatable and beatable.”

Friends of the Global Fight also announced new Global Fund monies to enable seven sub-Saharan countries to cure 100 million cases of malaria over the next two years. The grants of $170 million mark the latest step in an unprecedented shift in global health policy, led by the Global Fund and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. In less than one year, the malaria treatment policy of 21 countries shifted from outdated therapies with failure rates of 80 percent, to new Artemisinin-based therapies (ACTs) with efficacy rates at 98 percent.

“We may have eradicated malaria from the United States fifty years ago, but this disease has not gone away. It is ravaging Africa, killing innocent children and demands a response from those of us living safely in a malaria-free environment,” said Jack Valenti, President of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. “The potential to turn the tide on the malaria epidemic is extraordinary. We must continue to build on this momentum to eradicate this deadly disease.”

“After years of advocacy, more financial resources are being dedicated to fight malaria. WHO welcomes and values the contributions and advances made by many donors to combating malaria, especially by the United States,” said Jack C. Chow, M.D., Assistant Director-General, HIV/AIDS-TB-Malaria, for the World Health Organization from Geneva, Switzerland. “In the campaign ahead to roll back malaria globally, more resources, commitment and hard work are urgently needed. The United States public and private sectors are well-positioned to accelerate the global efforts through research, technological progress and public health expertise.”

Chris Matthews, host of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” on MSNBC, and a survivor of malaria, moderated the press conference.

Malaria in Africa

Malaria affects more than 300 million people every year, and kills over 1 million. Ninety percent of deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Every day 3,000 children die from this disease; those who survive may suffer from brain damage or paralysis.

Pregnant women and their newborn babies are particularly vulnerable to malaria, which is a major cause of low birth weight, anemia and infant death.

Malaria costs African countries $12 billion every year in lost GDP. The cost of effective malaria control in Africa is estimated at $2 billion per year.

Africa Malaria Day

On April 25, 2000, African leaders from 44 malaria-endemic countries met in Abuja, Nigeria for the first-ever African Summit on Malaria. At the summit, they signed the historic Abuja Declaration, which commits governments to an intensive effort to halve the burden in Africa by 2010.

Africa Malaria Day is commemorated by a variety of activities organized by a wide range of groups including governments, non-governmental organizations, schools and communities, in both malaria-endemic and industrialized countries. Previous activities have included parades, rallies, poster competitions for children, radio and television phone-in sessions, and letter-writing campaigns.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership

To provide a coordinated international approach to fighting malaria, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) was launched in 1998 by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank.

The Partnership now brings together governments of countries affected by malaria, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, non-governmental and community-based organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions around the common goal of halving the global burden of malaria by 2010.

United Nations Foundation

The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the UN. Through its grant making and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century. (

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Friends of the Global Fight works to educate, engage, and mobilize Americans in the fight to end the worldwide burden of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. By focusing these efforts on decision-makers in Washington, Friends seeks to build a sustained political commitment to fighting these diseases and to supporting the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a critical component in the fight.

For further information, please contact:

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership
Pru Smith (Geneva)

The United Nations Foundation

Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Lynn Hylden