WORLD MALARIA DAY 2012
Over the last decade, international efforts to combat malaria have been ramped up through innovative funding, which has enabled the development of new tools and improved access to malaria prevention and control measures. Since 2000, the incidence of malaria globally has reduced by 17%, while malaria mortality rates have fallen by 26%. Although these rates are less than the internationally agreed targets of 50% reduction by 2010, they still represent a major achievement.
However, more work is urgently needed - malaria still claims the life of one child every minute. People living in high-risk malarial areas, especially disadvantaged communities and those living in rural areas, face severe challenges in accessing tools and services for malaria prevention and treatment. The heavy economic and social burden that malaria inflicts on families and societies maintains communities in an unbreakable cycle of disease and poverty.
Because malaria is preventable and treatable, many more lives can be saved through a combination of proven and innovative malaria control interventions. As an organization working side-by-side with communities, AMREF wants to see people with the knowledge, skills and means to tackle malaria, maintain their good health and break the cycle of poor health and poverty. Successful malaria control programs not only save lives but also have a real impact on the productivity and wellbeing of people in malaria-endemic areas.
The recent successes noted in Africa are still fragile and need to be reinforced, expanded and sustained. The reduction in commitments from the Global Fund, one of the main international donors for malaria control, is a major threat to achieving universal malaria control. Funding from governments in Africa is generally less than US$1 per at-risk person and represents a very small proportion of the total financing required in the most highly endemic countries.
AMREF is concerned that adequate funding is maintained, and calls on governments, donors, the private sector and partners to reinforce and renew their commitment to invest in malaria control and build strong partnerships. This will help to sustain the gains already made, scale up interventions in high-risk malarial areas, strengthen health and community systems, and meet the strategic goals to eliminate malaria in Africa.
As the world celebrates World Malaria Day 2012, AMREF would like to pay special attention to women’s health in malaria-endemic countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where mothers continue to die while giving birth. Most of these deaths are due to preventable causes including, but not limited to: malaria, anemia, and bleeding. In some parts of the continent, malaria contributes up to 30% of maternal mortality. Preventing infection will therefore greatly contribute to reduction of maternal deaths. In the strong belief that no woman should die giving life, including from malaria, AMREF has recently launched the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign, an international initiative that aims to train 15,000 midwives by 2015 to contribute to the reduction of maternal deaths in Africa by 25%. Among other things, these midwives will educate mothers in the use of Insecticide-Treated Nets, and administer intermittent preventive treatment during pregnancy, as well as diagnose and treat malaria cases. At AMREF, we know that skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of thousands of women and newborn babies.
By drawing attention to the plight of African mothers and mobilizing citizens worldwide to ensure that women get the basic medical care they need during pregnancy and childbirth, including prevention and treatment of malaria, AMREF hopes to reduce maternal mortality and make childbirth a matter of joy as the world marks World Malaria Day.
Click here to read more about AMREF's malaria work.