World Malaria Day

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Statement by Acting Administrator Gloria Steele

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 23, 2021
Office of Press Relations
press@usaid.gov

15 Years of Fighting Malaria and Saving Lives with the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative

Imagine living in a world where every 30 seconds a child dies from a disease we can prevent and treat. Fifteen years ago, this was our reality: every 30 seconds a child died from malaria.

This Sunday, World Malaria Day, we recognize how American generosity and compassion can change lives. Fifteen years ago, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) sparked hope around the world that, together, we could end this suffering. The results have been truly incredible. Thanks to PMI, at least 1 billion people have received nets to keep them safe from deadly mosquito bites. More than 700 million people have received life-saving treatment. Dedicated and caring health workers have advanced their skills with 2 million trainings. Hundreds of labs have been equipped to track mosquito and parasite mutations that threaten health security. Today, scientists believe we can end malaria in our lifetimes.

While our progress has been remarkable, it has never been at greater threat. COVID-19 and Ebola are overwhelming vulnerable health systems and disrupting life-saving malaria care. COVID-19 could trigger 100,000 more malaria deaths each year. More frequent climate crises such as cyclones and floods will create prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes and unpredictable weather will have knock-on effects for the timing and effectiveness of malaria programs.

For 70 years, Americans have held the line against malaria within our borders. Yet today I recall how, for centuries, malaria plagued our nation. Malaria has shown how easily and rapidly it can resurge. I don’t want to find another pandemic on America’s doorstep and wonder if we could have done more to prevent it. We have the tools to end malaria. I believe we, and the world, must do our utmost to use them—and use them while they still work because resistance is on the rise.

We have come a long way in 15 years, but a child still dies from malaria every two minutes. As a mother, this breaks my heart. As an American, I am proud to continue USAID’s life-saving work to draw the line against malaria. To be part of this country as we strive, in unity with our global partners, to liberate ourselves from this and other deadly pandemics.


For more on the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative and PMI’s 15th Annual Report, visit pmi.gov

Last updated: September 23, 2021

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