World Malaria Day 2012: Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria

World Malaria Day 2012: Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria

A physician assesses a mother and children for malaria at a health center in Bujumbura, Burundi. {Photo credit: Rima Shretta/MSH.}Photo credit: Rima Shretta/MSH.

Today, April 25th, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) joins the global community marking World Malaria Day. "Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria" -- the theme of this year's World Malaria Day -- recognizes this crucial juncture in the global fight against malaria.

Significant gains have been made in the last ten years; since 2000, malaria mortality rates have decreased 25 percent globally, and 33 percent in Africa. However, progress could be reversed unless malaria continues to be a priority for global, regional, and national decision-makers and donors.

Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), South Sudan, and Uganda are among several MSH countries commemorating World Malaria Day with malaria awareness activities and events, including health talk sessions at football (soccer) games and drama activities with kids.

Global partners working to end malaria

MSH has been fighting malaria for three decades, working with public and private partners to improve access to and use of quality health services, including essential medicines and commodities to fight malaria. MSH and partners are working in over 20 countries worldwide, across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Greater Mekong Region, and the Middle East.

In support of international initiatives, such as the global Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, and the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), we work at the global, regional, and national levels and engage in the policy dialogue.

At the local level, we work with national health systems and organizations to build their capacity to implement effective malaria control and prevention programs.

  • In DR Congo -- one of the countries with the greatest number of malaria deaths -- the USAID-supported Democratic Republic of the Congo-Integrated Health Project (DRC-IHP), led by MSH, has distributed over 300,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), nearly 3 million doses of antimalarials (artemisinin-based combination therapy, or ACT), and more than 400,000 rapid-diagnostic tests (RDTs). The project also trained nearly 500 caregivers on standards of care for malaria prevention and treatment.
  • In South Sudan, the USAID-funded and MSH-led Sudan Health Transformation Project (SHTP II), phase two, is deeply involved in malaria control, including use of LLINs, intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) of pregnant women, and prompt treatment with an effective anti-malarial. The project has made impressive gains in helping health facilities deliver IPT, reaching over 75 percent of pregnant women over a 3-month period. SHTP II also utilizes performance-based financing, standardization of training, and reactivation of community-based care to strengthen the health system and reduce malaria mortality.

Please join MSH in commemorating World Malaria Day:

In solidarity with malaria efforts worldwide!

Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, is president and chief executive officer of Management Sciences for Health. Dr. Quick has worked in international health since 1978. He is a family physician and public health management specialist.