March of Washingtons donates funds for life-saving antimalarial drugs in Uganda

31 Aug 2010
Africa Fighting Malaria
Washington, D.C. - The March of Washingtons - a broad-based campaign to increase access to high-quality antimalarial drugs, and now pneumonia drugs, in Africa - has made its second donation. Thanks, in part, to funds raised by The Northwest School, $10,000 for artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) has been donated to Soft Power Health's clinic in Uganda - recognized as having the highest malaria transmission in the world and currently facing a severe shortage of antimalarial drugs.

Grace Lehman, a 12th grade student at Seattle's Northwest School and one of the organizers of the March, worked with Youth Venture Seattle, an organization that inspires young people to launch social ventures that lead to lasting social change. "I was motivated to start Malaracare when I found out that it only costs a dollar to save a life," says Lehman, "yet 1 in 5 children born in Africa will die from malaria before they reach the age of 5 years old. This was very shocking to me."

Hedge Funds vs. Malaria & Pneumonia and Africa Fighting Malaria teamed up in May 2008 to launch the March of Washingtons to help address the lack of access to high-quality antimalarial drugs, and recently pneumonia drugs, for people in Africa.

"The March of Washingtons idea is simple," said Lance Laifer, founder of Hedge Funds vs. Malaria & Pneumonia. "George Washington had malaria and died of pneumonia. George Washington is on the one dollar bill. Just one dollar can buy a malaria or pneumonia medicine for a person in Africa and support efforts to test for substandard drugs on sale in African markets. For every dollar we raise, we will buy a high-quality malaria or pneumonia treatment for a person in Africa and continue to work against the prevalence of substandard drugs. As pneumonia is often incorrectly diagnosed as malaria, it is important that we ensure both forms of treatment are available."

$10,000 was donated to Soft Power Health for the purchase and distribution of Coartem®, the first line treatment for malaria in Uganda. This high-quality antimalarial drug will be procured at a not-for-profit average price of $1 per treatment course delivered (Coartem® is formulated for infants, children, adolescents and adults). "With this second donation from the March of Washingtons we will be able to continue working to overcome a severe stock-out of Coartem® in the country and continue treating the many cases of malaria we see every day," said Dr. Jessie Stone, Founder of Soft Power Health.

"Although we are making progress in the fight against malaria, there are still over 800,000 preventable deaths from the disease every year," said Richard Tren, Director of Africa Fighting Malaria. "We have the tools to stop this from happening. ACTs are highly effective in treating malaria, but far too many Africans simply cannot access them. With the March of Washingtons, we are helping to overcome this and ensure that people have access to safe and effective treatment."

Further funds raised by the March of Washingtons are being used to collect and test antimalarial drugs available in African countries, and to help ensure that substandard and proscribed antimalarial drugs are taken off the market.

To help in the fight against malaria and pneumonia, hold your own March of Washingtons or simply donate to the March of Washingtons by visiting our website.

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Contact Information:

Richard Tren
Director, Africa Fighting Malaria
rtren@fightingmalaria.org
+1 202 223 3298

Lance Laifer
Founder, Hedge Funds vs. Malaria & Pneumonia
laifer@gmail.com

Dr. Jessie Stone
Founder, Soft Power Health
Jessie@softpowerhealth.org
www.softpowerhealth.org