August 20th is World Mosquito Day, a day to commemorate the 1897 discovery that mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans. Over 120 years later, malaria is still one of the top 10 killers in low-income countries. But here’s the catch: malaria is preventable and curable. So why are over 400,000 people still dying from the disease every year?
Even though we have made incredible progress in the fight against malaria since 2000, the World Health Organization’s 2017 World Malaria Report announced that malaria is back on the rise – there were 5 million more cases in 2016 than in 2015.
Here are 5 things you need to know about malaria:
1. A mosquito is more deadly than a shark.
By spreading malaria and other disease-causing viruses and parasites, mosquitoes kill more people in one day than sharks have killed in 100 years. Between 1916 and 2016, 1,035 people were killed by sharks. On an average day, 1,470 people will be killed by mosquitoes. That means you are 50,000 times more likely to be killed by a mosquito than a shark.
2. 80% of all malaria cases and deaths occur in just 15 countries.
Even though malaria is present in 91 countries, the burden is heavily concentrated in just 15 countries. All but one of these countries are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even more surprisingly, one in three malaria deaths occurs in just two countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
3. Three tools have prevented over 650 million malaria cases in Sub-Saharan Africa.
ITNs, which are hung over beds to kill and repel mosquitos, are the most common and effective method to prevent malaria. ITNs alone account for almost 70% of the cases averted.
ACTs, or antimalarial medicines, are the most effective way to prevent a mild case of malaria from developing into a deadly one. IRS, or spraying the inside walls of dwellings with insecticides, is also highly effective in keeping mosquitos at bay.
4. Reaching the 2030 malaria elimination targets will add $4 trillion to the global economy.
Eliminating malaria means that people will be able to work, attend school, and contribute to the economy. Increased productivity from a healthy workforce and greater household savings would add $4 trillion to the global economy. Ending preventable diseases like malaria is essential to ending extreme poverty.
5. The Global Fund provides more than 50% of all international financing for malaria.
Since its founding in 2002, the Global Fund has provided over $10.5 billion to malaria control programs in over 100 countries. The funds have contributed to education, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Global Fund-supported programs decreased the malaria mortality in children under 5 by 60%, distributed almost 800 million mosquito nets, and treated 668 million cases of malaria.
ONE supports the Global Fund’s efforts to eliminate malaria. Next year, the Global Fund will host its replenishment in order to raise funds to support its work for the next 3 years. We need to fill the $3.8 billion annual funding gap to put us back on track for elimination.
We cannot let our hard earned progress slip away. We have the tools. We have the strategies. What we need now is continued investment. If we want to see a world without malaria, we need world leaders to support a full replenishment. You can help make that happen by becoming a ONE member and joining the fight against extreme poverty and preventable diseases.