Roll Back Malaria

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Fighting poverty on World Malaria Day | 

Flickr, Gustavo

Fighting malaria is fighting poverty.

It’s World Malaria Day.

Malaria kills about 800,000 people every year but it also sickens hundreds of millions, causing $12 billion in economic losses annually in Africa alone due to impaired worker productivity, according to economist Jeffrey Sachs and Pia Malaney.

So how are we doing in the battle against this disease of poverty?

Today, at Seattle-based PATH, many of those here leading in the fight against malaria will meet to discuss ongoing efforts in prevention, treatment, research aimed at finding an effective vaccine and evaluating that progress.

Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck, director of the Roll Back Malaria partnership and former health minister for Senegal, says the massive investment by the international community in expanding access to bed nets, other preventive measures as well as improved diagnostics and treatments is paying off big time:

Change has been most dramatic in Africa, where enough insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been delivered to cover 76% of people at risk and 11 countries have reduced malaria cases and deaths by over 50%.

Coll-Seck notes this translates into an estimated 750,000 deaths, mostly in children, prevented over the last decade. Continue reading