Nonprofit "Malaria No More" Network Tackling the Deadly Disease

Kathryn McConnell | 18 Dec 2006

Washington -- A nonprofit network of more than 60 organizations from the United States and other countries, launched December 14 as part of the White House Summit on Malaria, will support a comprehensive approach to control the spread of one of the world's most deadly diseases.

The network Malaria No More (MNM) announced new commitments of funds, supplies and volunteers at the summit, which it helped organize with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department. The group's goal is to prevent and treat malaria in 12.5 million people in Africa by training local health care workers.

Malaria No More is working with the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), a five-year, $1.2 billion program focusing on fighting malaria in 15 of the most-affected countries in Africa.

More than $103.4 million in new private-sector financial commitments to this effort have been made since August, according to an MNM fact sheet.

MNM's founders are the Global Business Coalition on AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; Millennium Promise; UNICEF; the United Nations Foundation; and United Way.

"The greatest tragedy of malaria is the impact on young children," said Ray Chambers, chairman of MNM's board. "We have all the tools and technology to save lives," Chambers added, citing recent private sector fundraising for bed nets, indoor spraying and medicines. A fundraiser in New York City raised $1 million, he said.

MNM also is working to raise awareness of the malaria problem and the need for private contributions to buy long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to protect people from being infected by disease-carrying mosquitoes.

A recent poll of people in the United States showed they rank malaria behind HIV/AIDS, cancer, malnutrition and tuberculosis as a serious global disease. Yet malaria saps national economies when infected workers are too sick to work and sick children -- a country's future workers -- are unable to go to school.

"This is an awareness gap that Malaria No More has pledged to fill," the organization says.

In support of the bed net campaign, the U.S. National Basketball Association (NBA), Sports Illustrated magazine and the United Methodist Church launched their "Nothing But Nets" public campaign at the summit to raise funds to buy bed nets.

Young people in the United States also are getting involved. The Boys and Girls Clubs of America, for instance, is encouraging the 4.6 million youth it serves to raise funds for bed nets.

MNM plans an international youth summit on malaria in 2007 to involve young people in saving lives from malaria.

Malaria No More also has gotten agreement from the World Economic Forum to make malaria a priority issue at its regional meeting in South Africa in June 2007.

In the days leading up to the summit, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it would contribute $83 million in new grant money for promising vaccine research, making treatment programs available and affordable and expanding its model malaria-control program in Zambia. The funds also would support World Health Organization (WHO) anti-malaria efforts.

Malaria No More announced other new private-sector support for fighting malaria as well:

• A pledge of $10 million from Exxon Mobil for malaria research and control in five countries where it works -- Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Angola, Chad and Cameroon;

• A $1 million gift from the Abbott Fund to create and distribute throughout the United States a children's storybook and teaching guides prepared by educational publisher Scholastic; and

• A commitment from the Global Business Alliance to mobilize its 220 member companies to raise money for life-saving bed nets from its customers, employees and the general public in more than 150 communities around the world.

More information about Malaria No More and the Gates Foundation is available on those organizations' Web sites.

Additional information about U.S. anti-malaria efforts is available on the State Department's Sustainable Development Partnerships Web site.

For more information on U.S. policies, see Health.