I have gone back and forth on what to write on this day.
On the one hand, this is an opportunity to reflect on the tremendous progress we’ve made so far. On the other hand…the UN set 2010 as the date for uniform malaria coverage.
There’s 614 days left until the day set as the target. The plan is that by 2010:
- 80% of people at risk from malaria are using locally appropriate vector control methods such as long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLins), indoor residual spraying (irS) and, in some settings, other environmental and biological measures;
- 80% of malaria patients are diagnosed and treated with effective anti-malarial
- in areas of high transmission, 100% of pregnant women receive intermittent preventive treatment (iPT);
- the global malaria burden is reduced by 50% of the 2000 levels: ~175-250M cases annually and less than 500,000 deaths annually from malaria.
This graph from the Global Malaria Plan shows the projected effects of these interventions on different timelines. Acting quickly will save lives.
What can we, as individuals in the US, do?
Nothing but Nets is one way to contribute. Let major pharmaceutical corporations know you applaud (and expect!) their efforts to lower pricing on malarial drugs. Lastly, let your legislators know you support funding for malaria research and aid.
That last one is hard–right now things are pretty tight in the US for a lot of people. Personally, I may actually have to abandon our house and let it go into foreclosure, if we can’t sell it soon.
But I’m still so, so privileged to live in a place with clean water and electricity on demand and little threat of infectious disease (relatively). Don’t forget that even now, as financial times are hard, we still are pretty darn lucky compared to our brothers and sisters in Africa, Asia, and South America struggling with malaria.