As the World Malaria Day is marked globally today, world leaders from across the globe meeting in Paris have renewed commitments and announce new initiatives to accelerate the global movement to end malaria in our lifetime.
This year’s World Malaria Day seeks to encourage as many people as possible, including governments, private sector leaders, scientists and citizens from across the globe to make a personal commitment to end malaria, in line with this year’s theme: ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’.
The theme aims to remind citizens everywhere, and particularly in malaria burdened countries, of the personal responsibility we all have to protect communities from the disease and hold governments to account.
Since 2000, global efforts have saved 7 million lives and prevented more than a billion cases of malaria. However, a child still dies of malaria every two minutes, and more than half the world’s population remains at risk of malaria. Today global leaders and announce several important initiatives in the global fight against malaria. These include:
- Three African countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi – will pilot a first-generation vaccine for malaria, known as RTS, S / AS01 (RTS, S). The pilot will reach around 360,000 children per year in areas identified by the three countries.
- New countries, including Ghana and Sierra Leone, announce their commitment to the pan-Africa Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, launching country-owned initiatives which empower citizens and leaders alike to take ownership of the fight against malaria.Supported by The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), further End Malaria Councils and Funds are also underway in five African countries.
- With the majority of families living in countries at risk of malaria still sleeping without a mosquito net, Senegal is launching a joint bed nets distribution campaign with The Gambia. Meanwhile, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria confirms partners are on track to reaching a key malaria milestone this year:distributing two billion mosquito nets since the year 2000.
- Today also marks the official launch of the Civil Society for Malaria Elimination network (CS4ME), which unites civil society organisations and communities affected by malaria to advocate for more effective, sustainable and people-centred malaria programmes. The new organisation aims to encourage grassroots movements on malaria and ensure that decision-making is inclusive for those communities most affected by malaria.
A high-level conference to debate progress and challenges in the fight against malaria will take place inside Hôtel de Ville as part of the official World Malaria Day celebrations. The conference will be attended by high-level leaders such as the First Ladies of Niger and Haiti and Mayors of Niamey and Freetown, among others.
In addition, further public-facing activities spanning art, sport and culture will take place in the heart of Paris today, including:
- The unveiling of a work of art designed by graffiti-artist Cyril Kongo
- A football tournament with players comprising famous faces from the world of sport
- Educational activities on malaria for young children
- Renowned musicians in concert, including Oxmo Puccino and Ben L’Oncle Soul
As well as the official events in Paris, events will also take place around the world to engage local authorities and communities, including a gathering of Commonwealth leaders in London, which will mark a year since Commonwealth leaders committed to halve malaria by the year 2023 and events in Bangkok, also marking Asia-Pacific Malaria Week.
WMD 2019: Quotes from Partners
“2019 is a crucial year in the fight against malaria. We need to step up the fight with increased commitments from governments, businesses and individuals. We must ensure the Global Fund secures the funding it needs to continue saving millions more lives with lifesaving malaria preventions and treatments and increased access to innovative interventions. Representing around 60% of all global investment for the fight against malaria, the Global Fund’s importance cannot be underestimated. I urge everyone to be accountable in the fight by declaring ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’.” – Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria
“The fight against malaria has been an extraordinary success, but malaria is a formidable adversary that won’t be eliminated without unrelenting focus and effort. We need to increase resources and political commitment, and we need to invest in new tools and innovations to combat insecticide and drug resistance. If we don’t, we will see a resurgence – with more cases and more deaths.” – Peter Sands, Executive Director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
“The city of Paris is proud to host this year’s World Malaria Day. With more than 6 million euros spent each year, Paris is one of the principal local authority contributors to international aid, particularly in the areas of health, combatting pandemics and sanitation. I hope that this day will enable us to raise awareness of the importance of this commitment among Parisians, as it fully reflects the solidarity of Paris. It constitutes a first step in view to build a productive cooperation with francophone cities, members of the International Association of Francophone Mayors, which I have the honour to chair. As mayors, we have an important role to play in the control and elimination of malaria in urban settings, which – alongside other vector-borne diseases – can be worsened by a lack of access to adequate sanitation facilities, substandard housing and infrastructure, and limited access to good quality health services.” – Anne Hidalgo, Mayor, City of Paris
“For World Malaria Day, we’re joining countries and partners with a clear message: “Zero Malaria Starts with Me”. We’re calling on political leaders, the private sector and affected communities to take action to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malaria. We all have a role to play. Ultimately, investing in universal health coverage is the best way to ensure that all communities have access to the services they need to beat malaria – and every other disease.” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa
We must also accelerate the pace of progress if we are to achieve a 40% drop in global malaria cases and deaths by 2020, compared to 2015 levels. This will propel countries along the road to elimination and contribute to the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals, such as improving maternal and child health. We need to accelerate progress as there are significant gaps in the implementation of measures to prevent malaria, and stagnating international and domestic funding for malaria prevention and control. We therefore call for renewed political commitment to eliminate malaria and for increased investments on malaria prevention and control and urge governments to mobilize all necessary internal and external resources, and ensure intersectoral and cross-border collaboration. – Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.