A Day of Resolve to Eradicate Malaria

April 24, 2013

Thursday is World Malaria Day, a day set aside as a rallying point to support the accomplishments to date in the effort to eliminate malaria and to reaffirm a target date of 2015 for ending malaria deaths around the globe. As co-chairs of the Senate and House Caucuses on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, we remain committed to advancing efforts by the United States to eradicate malaria once and for all.
Malaria is a devastating disease that most Americans are unlikely to experience. Once rampant in the United States, malaria was eliminated in our country in the 1950s. The disease is preventable and treatable, and we have shown that we can defeat it, but it still affects millions of people across the globe.
Malaria remains an ever-present threat for nearly half of the world’s population: a killer of children, an emergency for families and a barrier to building productive, democratic societies. The United States continues the fight to end this disease through targeted investments. One example of a program that is generating results is the President’s Malaria Initiative.
In these times of economic austerity, we recognize the importance of evaluating each program to ensure that the money spent has good results, that recipients are held accountable — and that investments are in the best interest of the United States and its people. After years of measurable results, independent evaluation and continued commitment to accountability, PMI demonstrates that malaria is a disease we can defeat.
That is why, on World Malaria Day, we should stand together in our support of PMI.
PMI takes a results-driven approach and utilizes the very best of American entrepreneurship to prevent and treat malaria in countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Its partnerships with local governments, the private sector, faith communities and organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria have directed American investments to reduce malaria deaths by 50 percent in 19 focus countries.
More important, it’s working. Since PMI’s inception in 2005, the initiative has helped to reduce malaria deaths by approximately 35 percent and given millions across the globe a chance at life. These small, targeted investments also help protect our own interests. American soldiers and diplomats are currently stationed in malaria-endemic countries building peace, strengthening communities and creating the potential for economic growth. As they build relationships with individuals abroad, fostering diplomacy and aiding future trading partners, the threat of something as simple as a mosquito bite could prevent them from the vital work they do.
One of the most exciting results of PMI’s important work is that each time we wrest a nation from malaria’s grip, we help unleash human potential: Children can go to school, parents can go to work, companies can grow and communities can thrive. These communities can then become trading partners of the United States, building on the relationships fostered by Americans’ compassion and generosity through PMI.
This World Malaria Day, we celebrate the work and the results of PMI, a bipartisan government program that is working to save lives and export our greatest commodity — humanitarian values.

Published by Politico