Global Networking Against Malaria
15 May 1998
As your organization is active in regions of the world affected by malaria, I thought I would write to you, in my capacity as president of the Malaria Foundation International, to let you know of an important development in the battle against the disease. Leaders of the G8 countries have endorsed plans by the World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and other international agencies to launch a bold multi-agency, long-term programme in malaria control.
The so-called "Roll-Back Malaria" initiative was announced by Gro Harlem Brundtland, the WHO Director General Elect in her acceptance speech to the meeting of the World Health Assembly in Geneva of 13 May, 1998. Malaria was on the agenda of the meeting of the heads of state of the G8 countries being held in Birmingham, United Kingdom on the week-end. They have strongly endorsed the programme.
The promise of high level political support, and the ambitiousness of the planned new programme, are the culmination of growing international recognition of the gravity and deterioration of the malaria situation, in particular in Africa. We are perhaps standing at what is an historic watershed in efforts to combat the disease, and any support from your organization would be most welcome.
Malaria already kills over one million people every year. Another 300 to 500 million people have the disease, and one third of all humanity lives in zones where they risk catching it. Malaria kills one person - often a child under five - every 11 seconds.
Yet malaria control efforts suffer from a lack of co-ordinated investment and implementation. Similarly, global expenditure on the research needed to develop new tools is estimated at a fraction of that spent on asthma, not to mention AIDS. Spending on cancer research in the United Kingdom alone is double that spent on malaria research worldwide. Moreover, just as the explosion of parasite resistance to drugs makes it more pressing than ever to find new drugs and vaccines, the
pharmaceutical industry worldwide has been reducing its support, but it is hoped that this trend will reverse.
It was to draw attention to these problems, and to help remedy them, that the Malaria Foundation International itself was set up in 1992. Our goal is to promote the better use of existing tools and the development of new ones, and to help ease the health, economic and social problems caused by malaria. At present we support programmes in international communications and networking, education and training.
If you would like more information on the Malaria Foundation International itself, it is probably simplest to just consult our Web site (www.malaria.org), which gives details for example of the composition of our international governing and scientific boards. You will find further details of the Roll Back Malaria (ABM) initiative on the attached briefing sheet and can follow ABM developments at the Malaria Foundation International web site. We encourage you to disseminate this information widely amongst your colleagues and would be happy to provide you with related articles for your internal publications.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly (Tel/fax: 212 979 -7876, e-mail; Mary.Galinski@malaria.org) if you would like more information on the initiative - we have been working closely with the UK Government's Department for International Development to publicize the initiative as best we cart. I hope to hear from you soon.
Mary R Galinski, PhD
Malaria Foundation International