Nothing But Nets Director Addresses Halted Progress Revealed in World Malaria Report


Washington, DC

Margaret Reilly McDonnell, Director of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, provided the following statement on the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2017 released today:

“In 2000, the world committed to protect millions of people from deadly, yet preventable and treatable diseases like malaria. Inspired by the bold vision of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the Roll Back Malaria partnership, the global community banded together to create The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) and the United States created the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), unlocking billions in funding to scale up the delivery of life-saving tools like bed nets.

“Since then, thanks to this significant investment, strong political leadership, and the development and distribution of effective tools, we’ve seen a staggering decline in malaria cases and deaths, saving close to seven million lives from this deadly disease. Globally, we have reduced deaths by an estimated 62%, and an estimated 69% among children under age five in sub-Saharan Africa. What’s more, bed nets accounted for 68% of the malaria cases prevented since 2001.

“Today’s report, however, suggests our hard-earned success is fragile and uneven, putting our tremendous progress at risk. We’re seeing a plateau in funding; an increase in insecticide and drug resistance; and a breakdown in health systems in crisis-ridden countries like Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Venezuela.

“But we at Nothing But Nets and the United Nations Foundation will not be deterred; in fact, we remain committed to working toward a future where no one dies from a mosquito bite. Every woman, every child, and every refugee deserves a chance to lead a healthy life, which is why we cannot give up.

“I am encouraged by the incredible work of PMI, the Global Fund, the UN, and other partners working around the clock to deliver life-saving tools and treatment. I am in awe of our Nothing But Nets champions, donors, and private sector partners who have stepped up to protect vulnerable families living in the world’s most dangerous and hard-to-reach communities including those in Nigeria, South Sudan, and Venezuela where the burden of malaria is highest. And we can find hope in stories coming from the Americas, where many countries are close to reaching elimination.

“In April next year, the global malaria community will come together at two crucial events – a high-level event on malaria at the Commonwealth Summit in London and the 7th MIM Pan African Malaria Conference in Dakar – to redouble our efforts to end malaria. We must call on leaders across government, business, science, civil society, and beyond to realize commitments and innovation to accelerate progress once again.

“A child dies from malaria every two minutes. It is tragic. It is unacceptable. We must do better and end this disease once and for all.”

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