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World Malaria Day

 

On April 25, the international community will celebrate World Malaria Day.  The observance was instituted in 2007 by the members of the World Health Organization.  Every year, World Malaria Day helps muster political and social support for programs aimed at eradicating malaria, one of the deadliest diseases in the humanity’s history.  The celebrations also spread public awareness and invite new donors to support research, treatment, and prevention efforts. 

 

The stakes are, in fact, extremely high.  Malaria, which is caused by Plasmodium parasites and transmitted exclusively through bites by infected mosquitoes, has consumed more human lives than all wars combined.  It kills a child in Africa every 60 seconds.  In 2010 alone, the disease cost the lives of 660,000 people, most of them young children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

This is why combating malaria (along with HIV/AIDS and other diseases) has been designated as Millennium Development Goal (MDG) #6.  Over the last decade, the world has achieved considerable progress, with incidents of the disease dropping by 33% over the last 6 years.  However, funding for anti-malaria programs and campaigns has recently plateaued, which is why the theme chosen for 2013 and the coming years is: Invest in the Future. Defeat Malaria. 

 

The global effort to defeat the disease has been coordinated by Roll Back Malaria, an international partnership of 500 members, including governments, the private sector, development organizations, research institutions, and various nonprofits.  The partnership is guided by the Global Malaria Action Plan, which acts as a road map to a malaria-free world.

 

Dozens of international nonprofits have been involved in preventing malaria from spreading in the poorest, high-burden countries.  While medical treatment, including vaccines, are an integral part of the fight against the disease, the distribution of insecticide-infused bed nets have become one of the cheapest and most effective preventive measures.  Various nonprofit and charitable groups have focused just on that – giving away nets to high-risk families.  By donating as little as $5, anyone can help save lives in the affected regions and contribute to the global effort aimed at freeing our planet from this deadly yet preventable disease.  

 

If you would like to participate in an event on World Malaria Day, visit the website of WorldMalariaDay.org and Roll Back Malaria, where you will find various events, including seminars, presentations, and symposiums on current relief and research programs. 

 

Check out our media gallery to learn more about malaria and the nonprofits working on the ground to help cross it off the list of humanity’s most troubling diseases.