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Sustained Funding For Malaria Efforts Needed To Maintain Momentum

“When in the year 2000 African leaders first decided to put a Malaria Day on the calendar of the world, the ravages of malaria were barely visible to global decision-makers in prosperous countries,” Fatoumata Nafo-Traor, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership and a former minister of health in Mali, writes in the Huffington Post’s “The Big Push” blog. “African leaders’ Abuja commitment to tackle malaria set in motion events that were to change the fate of millions,” she continues, highlighting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the global partnership to Roll Back Malaria. She adds, “Today the malaria map is shrinking,” and she provides some statistics. “But the gains that have been made so far remain fragile. The push to roll back malaria cannot afford to stop here,” she states.

“Malaria control has been hailed as one of the best buys in public health, a cost-effective strategy for making the world a better place,” Nafo-Traor writes. However, “[o]f the $5 billion needed every year to achieve and maintain universal access to malaria interventions worldwide, less than a half — some $2.3 billion — is currently available,” she notes, adding, “In today’s global economic environment, committing domestic funds to health becomes all the more important; using available resources wisely — all the more critical and diversifying sources of funding — inevitable.” She writes, “These principles are key elements of the RBM strategy that partners are currently pursuing together with [Ray Chambers,] the U.N. special envoy for malaria and for the financing of the health-related [MDGs].” She concludes, “The momentum that has been built in the past years, if sustained, has the power to lift the burden of malaria and other major disease from Africa and the world. … This will not be an act of charity. It will be an investment” (4/23).