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Nothing But Nets Executive Director Addresses Stalled Progress Revealed in World Malaria Report, Launch of Country-Led Response Plan

November 19 2018

Washington, DC (November 19, 2018) – Margaret Reilly McDonnell, Executive Director of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, provided the following statement on the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2018 released today:

“Thanks to global partnership efforts, deaths from malaria have been cut by more than 60 percent since 2000, saving 7 million lives. Originally inspired by the bold vision of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the global community banded together in the early 2000s to create The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and the United States created the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which have significantly scaled up the response to these devastating preventable diseases and reached millions with lifesaving bed nets, testing, and treatment tools.

But last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) World Malaria Report showed that hard-earned progress was at risk. And this year, the World Malaria Report 2018 confirms that after a decade of unprecedented progress, the declining trend in malaria cases has leveled off. In 2017, the 10 highest burden countries in Africa reported a combined increase of 3.5 million cases over the previous year. However, at the same time, more countries than ever are approaching elimination – this year, Paraguay was certified malaria-free, and several others in the Americas are on track to eliminate malaria by 2020. Our work has shown us that progress is possible – but not guaranteed and appears uneven around the world.

In 2017, 11 countries accounted for approximately 70% of estimated malaria cases and deaths globally: 10 in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Among these countries, only India reported progress in reducing its malaria cases in 2017 compared to 2016. The High Burden to High Impact Response Plan, launched today, was catalyzed by the World Health Organization and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. By focusing on increasing political will, improved use of data, better guidance on policies and strategies for local settings, and engaging sectors outside of health, the Response Plan will help turn the tide back towards our global goal to end malaria.

Today’s findings show both progress and peril, but we at Nothing But Nets and the United Nations Foundation will not be deterred. We remain committed to supporting the incredible, lifesaving work of the United Nations, The Global Fund, and the President’s Malaria Initiative to ensure that we see the day where no child dies from a mosquito bite.

The World Malaria Report 2018 showed that between 2015 and 2017, a total of 624 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets were distributed globally – up from 465 million between 2012-2014. Still, only 50% of people living at risk of malaria in Africa are sleeping under nets.

I am inspired by the hundreds of thousands of Nothing But Nets supporters – from students to CEOs to sports stars – who have stepped up to protect vulnerable families living in the world’s most dangerous and hard-to-reach communities including those where the burden of malaria is highest, such as in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And I’m proud of the expansion of our work in Latin America and the Caribbean, where we are working in close partnership to achieve elimination in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador, while also supporting the efforts of UN partners working in Venezuela, where a breakdown of the country’s health system due to political and economic turmoil has caused a significant surge of malaria cases.

Every woman, every child, and every refugee deserves a chance to lead a healthy life, which is why we cannot give up. We must continue to call on leaders across government, business, science, civil society, and beyond to realize commitments and innovation to accelerate progress once again. We cannot stand still. A child dies from malaria every two minutes. It is tragic. It is unacceptable. We must do better and end this disease once and for all.”

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Ryland Devero
Communications and Digital Media Manager, Nothing But Nets and UN Foundation
+ 1 202.854.2350

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 to defeat malaria.

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

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