WASHINGTON, April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Each year, World Malaria Day is observed to call attention to the disease and to mobilize action to combat it. On this occasion, the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), releases its fifth annual report, which describes the role and contributions of the U.S. Government in the effort to reduce the burden of malaria in Africa.
In less than five years, due to global efforts, reported malaria cases have been cut in half in more than 40 countries worldwide, and deaths related to malaria are estimated to have fallen by nearly 150,000. These efforts are estimated to save 485 children each day from dying from malaria.
Partnerships with national governments, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the World Bank Booster Program for Malaria Control, other multilateral and bilateral organizations, foundations, and a multitude of non-governmental organizations make this possible. The U.S. Government through PMI has reached many millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa with life-saving prevention and treatment measures through a variety of approaches that extend to the community level.
"Sustainability of malaria control programs is a critical goal of U.S. efforts," said Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator. "The United States is focusing on building capacity within host countries by training people to manage, deliver, and support the delivery of health services, which will be critical for sustained successes against infectious diseases."
PMI is working in 17 focus countries in Africa; Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo were added in 2010. In all seven of the PMI focus countries where baseline and follow-up nationwide household surveys have been conducted, mortality in children under the age of five has dropped by 23 to 36 percent. While multiple factors may be influencing this decline, growing evidence suggests that malaria prevention and treatment are playing a major role in these unprecedented reductions in under-five mortality.
For nearly half the world's population, malaria remains one of the greatest threats to public health. Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of the world's malaria control activities where this ancient disease casts a shadow not only over health, but also on educational achievement, worker productivity, and economic development. Nearly 85 percent of global malaria cases and 90 percent of malaria deaths are estimated to be in Africa.
Malaria control is a core component of President Obama's Global Health Initiative and is critical to USG efforts to help countries meet the Millennium Development Goal target to reduce the mortality in children under age five by two-thirds.