Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) certified Paraguay as free of malaria – the first country in the Americas to accomplish this milestone in 45 years. This certification is granted when a country has recorded zero malaria cases transmitted in-country for the past three consecutive years.
This historic moment signals that progress in ending this disease – which still claims the life of a child every two minutes – is possible. This was further highlighted today in the release of WHO’s Elimination 2020 (E2020) report, which found an additional 10 of the 21 countries identified are on track for elimination by 2020.
Despite this progress, the global fight against malaria is at a crossroads. Ten countries were also found to be off track for elimination by 2020. United Nations Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin released the following statement today in response to this historic moment in Paraguay and called for continued focus and funding on the fight to end malaria worldwide. Through the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Netscampaign, people everywhere join the UN and its partners to raise awareness and funds to end malaria. Calvin said:
“Paraguay’s success against malaria is a good news story that needs to be told. When we come together and act, we can save lives and drive progress. We know that it takes policymakers, health workers, private sector partners, governments, and communities working together with the United Nations to end malaria for good, and on behalf of the United Nations Foundation, I congratulate Paraguay on this momentous occasion.
“Progress on global health is connected to progress across the Sustainable Development Goals. By eliminating diseases like malaria, a nation unlocks tremendous growth potential. When children aren’t sick with malaria, they attend school and receive an education that prepares them for a brighter future. And when adults aren’t sick with malaria, they contribute to their communities’ economy.
“While global problems seem overwhelming, Paraguay has proven that progress is possible. Now we must recommit to be the generation that ends malaria. We need to support countries on track to eliminate malaria by 2020 as well as help get the remaining countries back on track to end malaria for good. We must seize this opportunity to ensure no child is left behind, that no child anywhere dies from a mosquito bite.”
Margaret Reilly McDonnell, Executive Director of Nothing But Nets added:
“Over the last two decades, incredible achievements have been accomplished in the fight to end malaria. Paraguay’s certification as malaria-free acts as a beacon of hope to other countries and signals that we can end malaria in our generation.
But the other half the report signals what we already know – that we can’t take our foot off the pedal in fighting this deadly, yet preventable, disease. It will take increased focus and funding to end malaria for good.
“We are encouraged to see that China and El Salvador reported zero cases for the first time in 2017, and even more so that Argentina, Algeria, and Uzbekistan are on track to be certified malaria-free later this year.
“We know that it will take unwavering commitment and leadership to continue this progress, like the innovative financing from the Regional Malaria Elimination Initiative in the Americas that will bring new funds to the fight and ensure malaria remains a top health and development priority in the region.
““For the last 12 years, Nothing But Nets has been fighting to make sure no pregnant woman, child, or family is left unprotected from deadly mosquitoes. Refugees and indigenous populations must not be left behind. We will continue working to protec t those at-risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. We believe a malaria-free world is possible and are further inspired by Paraguay’s accomplishment.”
Senior Officer, Communications, UN Foundation
Communications & Digital Media Manager, Nothing But Nets
About the United Nations Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org
About Nothing But Nets
Nothing But Nets is the world’s largest grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a disease which claims the life of a child every two minutes. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Nothing But Nets has raised over $65 million to help deliver 12 million bed nets to families in need, along with other crucial malaria interventions. In addition to raising funds for its UN partners, Nothing But Nets raises awareness and voices to advocate for critical malaria funding for the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It only costs $10 to help save lives from this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to defeat malaria.