April 13, 2016
In February, Friends of the Global Fight President Deb Derrick had the opportunity to talk about “Mosquitoes and Malaria Elimination” at North Carolina State University as part of their Great Animal Seminars.
In the second of a two-part series (the first is available here), we share a few excerpts of her one-hour presentation, focusing on the history of the global malaria epidemic, and the progress that has been made globally.
However, there is still significant work to be done. Approximately 3.2 billion people remain at risk of contracting malaria – in 2015, there were 214 million new cases of malaria and 438,000 deaths from the disease. As a result, mosquitoes remain the deadliest animal, killing about 73,000 times the number of people who were killed by sharks in 2015 alone!
Efforts to combat malaria globally have been driven by engagement with U.S. politicians. U.S. efforts to build the Panama Canal under President Teddy Roosevelt resulted in the first major effort to control malaria in the Americas. More recently, President George W. Bush created the President’s Malaria Initiative in 2005 to scale up prevention and treatment measures, an effort that has continued to grow under President Barack Obama.
We are at a moment in time where this is a major push from governments, the private sector, civil society, and other partners to bring an end to epidemics caused by diseases, including malaria. It will take a significant commitment, both in financial and human resources, but if we are able to sustain a robust response, we can hope to see the day when no child dies from malaria.