World Vision Launches Initiative to Combat Malaria

World Vision | 20 Jun 2008
Reuters Foundation Alert Net
World Vision announced today the launch of a major new initiative to combat malaria, a leading cause of child deaths worldwide.

Transmitted through mosquitoes, malaria is the fourth leading cause of death for children under five years in the developing world and is a top killer of children in sub-Saharan Africa. Each year, more than 1 million people die from the disease, and about 8 in 10 of those are children. Roughly half of the world's population is at risk of contracting the disease.This initiative aims to reduce the illness and death caused by malaria by increasing resources to prevent and control the disease, scaling up programming, building corporate partnerships and enhancing advocacy.

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization active in 100 countries, will commit itself over at least five years to increasing private funding for anti-malaria activities, advocating to enhance government commitments and developing more corporate partnerships to leverage resources aimed at alleviating the global burden caused by the disease.

Despite the fact that proven, inexpensive interventions to prevent and control malaria exist, access to these life-saving options is insufficient for the children, women and families that need them most. For example, a simple $10 bed net can protect a family from this deadly disease for 5 years.

"It is tragic that malaria remains a leading cause of death for children worldwide, despite the fact solutions exist to prevent the disease that are proven and inexpensive," said Joseph Mettimano, World Vision's vice president for advocacy in the U.S. "We aim to change this reality in the 400 or so communities where we work in Africa. With new public and private investment, partnerships between businesses and non-governmental organizations and increased program support by humanitarian organizations, there is real hope that together we can see a dramatic reduction in the number of child deaths from malaria."

Increased global investment will be necessary to overcome current funding gaps and provide needed resources to households at risk of malaria. An estimated global investment of between $3.8 to $4.5 billion is necessary to adequately support malaria activities worldwide and set the course for elimination of the disease. In comparison, an estimated $12 billion of lost economic productivity is due to malaria illness and deaths each year.

World Vision has identified several goals for the initiative: · Promote government and NGO collaboration that will further enable a reduction in malaria cases among children by 50% in certain high prevalence countries by 2015 · Increase public and private funding for World Vision's malaria activities to $50 million a year by 2015 · Increase U.S. government funding for malaria to at least $1 billion a year · Increase U.S. public awareness about the disease and its impact · Establish and enhance corporate partnerships and investment to fight the disease.

Through its new malaria initiative, World Vision plans to expand and enhance its existing anti-malaria activities. These include a wide range of interventions to prevent and control malaria such as distributing long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, teaching communities about how to protect themselves against the disease, environmental management, intermittent presumptive treatment for pregnant mothers, providing access to anti-malarial drugs and rapid-case management and referrals for patients. World Vision currently works in 13 of the 15 focus countries in the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and has assisted in the large-scale distribution of bed nets supplied through PMI and corporate partners.

To learn more about the impact of malaria on children, please visit: www.SeekJustice.org  

Press contact: Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz, +1.202.572.6302

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