Malaria will infect 350-500 million people this year; will cause the death of more than 1 million of its victims this year; will take the life of 3,000 children today
Weakened by disease and struggling for his life, 8-month-old Siobanna of Burundi is the face of malaria. He is not alone. Everyday in crowded health centres like this, a war is being fought to halt the spread of the devastating disease responsible for the deaths of 3.000 children everyday and more than 1 million people each year.
"It is a terrible disease. She has only been ill for two days, look how helpless she is already. I am really scared."
Since 1998, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners in the Roll Back malaria Initiative have shown that collaborations at all levels, both local and national, private and public, are the keys to the fight against malaria. On World Malaria Day 2008 these partners will join together to spread awareness about the disease without borders. One that can only be conquered with the help of the global community.
Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director: “Raising awareness and raising funds, it’s all about the partnerships that will really make a long term difference for the children all around the world.”
Funding from groups like the European Commission for Human Aid (ECHO) and the government of Japan have helped UNICEF more than double the overall distribution of insecticide treated bed nets, which have bee shown to drastically reduce malarial infection rates in affected areas.
Health campaigns at the local and national levels have helped communities gain access to anti-malarial drugs, treatments and supplies.
Celebrities and Goodwill Ambassadors have also worked tirelessly to educate communities about the importance of prevention and the timely treatment of malaria.
Through their combined efforts, the Roll Back Malaria partners have brought renewed health and security to millions of children and pregnant women. But the costs of supplying the tools necessary to truly impact the disease are out of reach of endemic nations, where poverty and a lack of essential infrastructure hinder progress.
Malaria is preventable. Malaria is curable. And with the support of a global community declaring malaria as an epidemic that affects us all, the suffering of these men, women and children may one day become a memory.