By Jennifer Nettles
Tuesday, April 25, is World Malaria Day. Malaria is an infectious disease claiming the lives of now 429,000 people each year – mostly children.
Living in the South most of my life, I am all too familiar with the annoyance of mosquitos, especially in the evening. But I cannot begin to imagine what it would be like to live with mosquitoes beyond annoyance; an insect bite that might mean the death of my sweet little boy. Millions of mothers and fathers face that fear around the globe year after year, whereby malaria claims the life of one child every two minutes.
The good news is that the number of deaths from malaria per year is down by 48 percent since 2000. We have made historic, epic strides in treating and eradicating malaria with new testing methods, widespread distribution of insecticide-treated nets, and introduction of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to prevent deaths worldwide from mosquito bites.
Nearly 1 million people were dying each year from a mosquito bite just fifteen years ago, but today, we’ve cut that number in half thanks to prudent funding and programs through the integrated efforts of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), launched by President George W. Bush, and the strategic efforts of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
A nimble public-private partnership, the Global Fund is a financing institution that funds the response to malaria in countries worldwide, while the PMI provides talented U.S. field teams who offer technical support to malaria control programs, facilitating the implementation of Global Fund grants.
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