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Malaria Day: A call for united action against malaria

With one month to go until World Malaria Day 2019, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria is mobilising leaders and citizens to work together towards a malaria-free world.

Malaria-anopheles  Malaria Day: A call for united action against malaria Malaria anopheles
The malaria-causing anopheles mosquito feeding on a victim

Culminating in events in Paris on the April 25, this year’s World Malaria Day seeks to encourage as many people as possible across the globe to make a personal commitment to ending malaria, in line with this year’s World Malaria Day theme: “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” or Zéro Palu! Je m’engage.

To mark the day, a series of events to engage decision-makers, the private sector, scientists and civil society across the city of Paris are being announced, including a malaria-themed art installation in the centre of Paris and a football tournament, “Palufoot”, with famous sports personalities. A conference on the progress and the main challenges in the fight against malaria will also be held at the Hôtel de Ville.

Further events across the globe are also being organised, including in Bangkok during the Asia-Pacific Malaria Week and also in London, marking a year since Commonwealth leaders made a commitment to halve malaria by 2023. Several events will also be taking place across Africa, with further countries expected to launch national Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaigns, including Tanzania and the Republic of Congo. Furthermore Senegal, which pioneered a nationwide Zero Malaria campaign in 2014, will also be launching a joint bed nets distribution campaign with The Gambia.

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The World Health Organisation’s World Malaria Report 2018 revealed that over half the world’s population is at risk from malaria, with almost half a million deaths in 2017. With progress around the world uneven, World Malaria Day is the highlight of a global commitment to control the epidemic.

Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, RBM Partnership Board Chair, said: “World Malaria Day provides a crucial platform for citizens to call for united action against malaria and renewed political commitment. With a child dying every two minutes from malaria, greater progress and funding is critical. Join us on the April 25 to step up the fight and demand that malaria is defeated once and for all. Paraguay and Uzbekistan’s malaria-free certification last year and several countries, including China, reaching zero malaria cases can serve as a shining example to others of the progress that we can all make when we work together.”

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This year’s World Malaria Day seeks to recognise the importance of Francophone contributions, as well as urging more global action in the fight against malaria. With more than 300 million people at risk in Francophone countries, the support and contributions of French-speaking nations is integral for progress, although all nations, both those directly affected by malaria and those that contribute towards malaria funding, are being asked to step up the fight.

Later this year, France will also host the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference in Lyon on October 10. This meeting will set out to secure commitments of at least $14 billion in funding. A fully funded Global Fund is critical for progress – saving an additional 16 million lives and preventing 234 million infections of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria by 2030. Responsible for 60 per cent of global malaria funding, it is essential that the Global Fund’s target is met.

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In the spirit of the RBM Partnership’s motto “achieving more together”, supporters are enjoined to engage on social media using #WorldMalariaDay, #ZeroMalariaStartswithMe, #ZeroPalu and #StepUpTheFight.

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