Ten Countries in the Caribbean and Central America, including Haiti, have launched a regional initiative to eliminate malaria by 2020. Both for public health and economic growth, eliminating malaria is in the interest of the entire region. This initiative is also a positive example of how very different countries can come together to address shared challenges. The Global Fund has committed to providing $10 million in support of the initiative. Click here to read about the Global Fund's support for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria programming in Haiti. The full announcement follows.
The New York Times recently carried an article on the Carter Center's joint Haiti/Dominican Republic initiative to eliminate malaria and lymphatic filariasis from the island of Hispaniola, which both countries share. Given that infectious diseases do not respect borders, this initiative seems an excellent opportunity for collaboration between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Hopefully, it can open doors for much needed collaboration in other areas as well.
Although the floodwaters have receeded, Haitians in hurricane affected communities are still at risk. Standing water creates an ideal breeding ground for mosquitos that carry malaria and other diseases. For pregnant women and children, a mosquito net can be a life saving, yet cost effective, intervention. Partners in Health (PIH) has launched a campaign to purchase and then distribute 10,000 long lasted insecticide treated mosquito nets. Supporting this effort is a tangible way to help Haiti during the recovery process.
I will be the first to admit I never really thought about philanthropy when I was young. I didn't even know malaria existed until I was in my late teens. It was inspiring for me to read this New York Times piece about children who have gotten involved in the fight against malaria, one of whom has raised $43,000 dollars! Children understand the damage malaria can do and the moral imperative of doing something in response. A long lasting insecticide treated mosquito net is a beautiful thing indeed. If a family receives one, retains it, and sleeps under it properly, it will have a major protective effect. At ten dollars (or under) a net, it is an excellent investment, whether in Sub-Saharan Africa or in Haiti which also is malaria endemic. The full article is copied below.
Friday was World Malaria Day 2008. Global health depends on controlling this global disease. It is the leading cause of death in African children and a major health concern in Haiti. It overwhelms fragile health care systems and hurts economies - the annual economic loss in Africa due to malaria is estimated to be $12 billion (1.3% loss in GDP.) Yet, we know how to prevent it and how to treat it. There has been tremendous progress made in the past year, so much so that the international community increasingly agrees that we should begin working toward eradication - in other words, a world without malaria. It would be a better world indeed.