Being an effective malaria advocate means understanding the issues and being able to communicate them clearly and passionately. Read on to dive deeper into the specifics of malaria control, treatment and prevention and to learn more about the role the U.S. Government plays in fighting malaria.
Funding the Fight Against Malaria
Funding the fight against malaria is one of the best investments you can make in global health. The tools are cost-effective and the return on investment is high, with the world standing to gain an estimated $208 billion by 2035 through progress against the disease.
Since 2000, funding for malaria reduction and elimination has increased markedly. Countries where malaria is transmitted have increased the amount spent on malaria programs by an estimated 4 percent per year between 2005 and 2012, reaching $522 million by 2012.
International funding to countries where malaria is transmitted has also increased dramatically, from less than $100 million in 2000 to $1.97 billion in 2013.
These increases in funding correspond to an impressive decline in the burden of malaria. Worldwide, child malaria death rates have been cut in half and more than 3.3 million lives have been saved since 2000.
The two largest financial contributors to the fight against malaria are The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative. The Global Fund has disbursed $6.5 billion for malaria reduction and elimination between 2002 and 2013. The President’s Malaria Initiative has provided over $3 billion to support malaria programs between 2006 and 2013.
In 2012, international and domestic funds committed to malaria control were estimated to reach $2.5 billion. While this is the biggest annual investment in malaria to date, it is less than half of the estimated $5.1 billion required globally to achieve goals for malaria reduction and elimination.
You can help ensure that the Global Fund and the President’s Malaria Initiative have sufficient resources by using your voice and telling Congress to support efforts to reduce and eliminate malaria. Send them a message here!
What the Global Fund Means for Malaria
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is the largest international funding mechanism for malaria. It is funded by donations made from national governments, the private sector, social enterprises, philanthropic foundations, and individuals. This translates into US$6.5 billion that has been disbursed to 97 countries. What has US$6.5 billion achieved?
- It has distributed over 410 million insecticide-treated nets, each of which can protect at least two people for up to three years.
- It has provided life-saving treatment for 330 million cases of malaria.
- It has been invested in tests which accurately diagnose malaria cases, so that people with fevers that are not caused by malaria are treated appropriately.
- It has supported indoor residual spraying of households, which protect the families that live in them for up to six months.
- It has strengthened the capacity of health systems and personnel, which improves the outcomes of people seeking treatment for malaria and other illnesses.
Thanks to the Global Fund, along with other partners in the fight against malaria, this disease, which has plagued mankind for millennia is declining. Worldwide, child malaria death rates have been cut in half and more than 3.3 million lives have been saved since 2000.
Though the reduction in malaria cases and deaths is remarkable, current efforts are delicate and dependent upon monetary support from the private sector and governments, including the United States, which provides one-third of all funding to the Global Fund. Even short funding gaps can have critical consequences, since malaria can rebound over a few months of a rainy season if control measures are cut back. Since the 1930s, there have been 75 documented local resurgences of malaria, most of which were linked to decreased program funding.
You can help ensure that the Global Fund has sufficient resources to send even more nets and save more lives by using your voice and telling Congress to support efforts to reduce and eliminate malaria. Send them a message here!
The US President’s Malaria Initiative
In 2005, President George W. Bush announced plans to increase United States funding for malaria prevention and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa, establishing the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). Between 2006 and 2013, PMI provided $3.1 billion to the fight against malaria. In 2012, PMI accounted for 29% of all international malaria funding, making it the second largest funder of malaria programs behind the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
This investment is being monitored carefully and so far the results are impressive. By the end of 2012, more than 62 million insecticide-treated nets, 38 million rapid diagnostic tests, and 136 million courses of malaria treatment (artemisinin combination therapy) were procured and distributed by PMI. Each year PMI trains tens of thousands of health workers to prevent malaria among pregnant women and to diagnose and treat malaria. Through household spraying programs, PMI reaches millions of households annually and protected 30 million people with this intervention in 2012.
Through this work, PMI has contributed to the remarkable decline in malaria death rates.
Worldwide, child malaria death rates have been cut in half and more than 3.3 million lives have been saved since 2000.
In order to achieve its ambitious goal of reducing malaria deaths by half in each target country, PMI helps national governments deliver proven, effective interventions to people at the greatest risk. PMI is fighting malaria in 19 countries in Africa, including: Angola, Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These countries were selected based on the burden of the disease, their capacity to implement malaria control policies, and their desire to partner with the United States in the global fight to end malaria.
This initiative is led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). PMI also works closely with national governments, other U.S. Government agencies, international organizations, other donors, NGOs, faith-based organizations, and the private sector.
You can help ensure that the President’s Malaria Initiative has sufficient resources to send even more nets and save more lives by using your voice and telling Congress to support efforts to reduce and eliminate malaria. Send them a message here!
Malaria Prevention and Treatment Methods
Bed nets are a powerful prevention tool in the fight against malaria—86 percent of people with access to a bed net use it. However, other interventions are needed alongside bed net distribution in order to eradicate malaria, which is why your advocacy is so important! U.S. and UN-funded programs to fight malaria address a wide array of interventions to fight the disease that are crucial to eradicating it. Read on to learn more about malaria prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and research and development efforts.
Long-lasting insecticidal bed nets (LLINs) are a simple, cost-effective solution to protect families from malaria while they sleep. They create a physical barrier against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and the insecticide woven into the nets kills the mosquitoes before they can transmit the disease from one person to the next.
Each year, 150 million nets need to be distributed in order to ensure that everyone in sub-Saharan Africa has access to this life-saving intervention. In 2013, only 42% of people in the region had access to a bed net in their home. You can help fill this gap in coverage by sending a net to a family in need.
Indoor residual spraying is the targeted use of insecticides sprayed on the indoor walls of homes. Each spraying can protect families for 6 months to one year by killing household mosquitoes. In 2012, 135 million people worldwide were protected from malaria by household spraying.
Preventive therapies for pregnant women and children
Pregnant women, infants, and children under five years old are particularly vulnerable to malaria. To prevent illness from malaria, the World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women and infants in sub-Saharan Africa take antimalarial drugs periodically during pre-natal care (for pregnant women) and vaccination delivery (for infants).
A new intervention, called Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention, is available in areas of Africa where malaria transmission is highly seasonal, occurring during a few months each year. By periodically treating children under five for malaria during the transmission season, this intervention is able to prevent 75% of malaria episodes.
Prevention among travelers
Travelers to places where malaria is transmitted should take special measures to protect themselves from the disease. Each year approximately 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in travelers returning to the United States. To find out if malaria is present in your destination and learn about protecting yourself from this deadly disease, please consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control website.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Lots of diseases cause fevers. Diagnostic testing, mainly using microscopes or rapid diagnostic tests, allow health workers to differentiate between malaria and fevers with other causes, thus leading to better treatment practices. Due to their small size and ease of use, rapid diagnostic tests to detect malaria have been delivered to even the most remote communities of Africa.
In 2012, 61% of malaria cases in the African public health system were confirmed using a diagnostic test. The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 billion malaria diagnostic tests are needed worldwide, each year to confirm all cases of malaria, of these 600 million are needed in Africa. In 2012, only 296 million of tests were available worldwide.
Malaria is curable if it is treated in time with an effective drug. The main medications used to treat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa are Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs).
On the Horizon: A Malaria Vaccine
Several vaccines for malaria are currently in development. The malaria parasite is more complex than bacteria and viruses, which are usually targeted by vaccines. This makes developing a vaccine a challenge. Reaching the goal of creating a highly effective, long-lasting vaccine will take many years.
Nonetheless, one first-generation vaccine will be submitted for World Health Organization approval in late 2014. If approved, this vaccine will be used to complement current highly-effective interventions, such as bed nets, as it is not fully protective against malaria when used alone.