Paris, 25 April 2019 – Today leaders from across the globe meet in Paris to renew commitments and announce new initiatives to accelerate the global movement to end malaria in our lifetime.
This year’s World Malaria Day seeks to encourage as many people as possible, including governments, private sector leaders, scientists and citizens from across the globe to make a personal commitment to end malaria, in line with this year’s theme: ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’. The theme aims to remind citizens everywhere, and particularly in malaria burdened countries, of the personal responsibility we all have to protect communities from the disease and hold governments to account.
Since 2000, global efforts have saved 7 million lives and prevented more than a billion cases of malaria. However, a child still dies of malaria every two minutes, and more than half the world’s population remains at risk of malaria. Today global leaders and announce several important initiatives in the global fight against malaria. These include:
- Three African countries – Ghana, Kenya and Malawi – will pilot a first-generation vaccine for malaria, known as RTS, S / AS01 (RTS, S). The pilot will reach around 360,000 children per year in areas identified by the three countries.
- New countries, including Ghana and Sierra Leone, announce their commitment to the pan-Africa Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, launching country-owned initiatives which empower citizens and leaders alike to take ownership of the fight against malaria. Supported by The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), further End Malaria Councils and Funds are also underway in five African countries.
- With the majority of families living in countries at risk of malaria still sleeping without a mosquito net, Senegal is launching a joint bed nets distribution campaign with The Gambia. Meanwhile, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria confirms partners are on track to reaching a key malaria milestone this year: distributing two billion mosquito nets since the year 2000.
- Today also marks the official launch of the Civil Society for Malaria Elimination network (CS4ME), which unites civil society organisations and communities affected by malaria to advocate for more effective, sustainable and people-centred malaria programmes. The new organisation aims to encourage grassroots movements on malaria and ensure that decision-making is inclusive for those communities most affected by malaria.
A high-level conference to debate progress and challenges in the fight against malaria will take place inside Hôtel de Ville as part of the official World Malaria Day celebrations. The conference will be attended by high-level leaders such as the First Ladies of Niger and Haiti and Mayors of Niamey and Freetown, among others.
In addition, further public-facing activities spanning art, sport and culture will take place in the heart of Paris today, including:
- The unveiling of a work of art designed by graffiti-artist Cyril Kongo
- A football tournament with players comprising famous faces from the world of sport
- Educational activities on malaria for young children
- Renowned musicians in concert, including Oxmo Puccino and Ben L’Oncle Soul
As well as the official events in Paris, events will also take place around the world to engage local authorities and communities, including a gathering of Commonwealth leaders in London, which will mark a year since Commonwealth leaders committed to halve malaria by the year 2023 and events in Bangkok, also marking Asia-Pacific Malaria Week.
After decades of progress, for the past two years cases of malaria have increased in the highest burden countries, inspiring the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the World Health Organization to catalyze a new “High Burden to High Impact” country-led approach. This World Malaria Day will highlight the importance of France and Francophone countries’ engagement in the fight against malaria, as half of the ten highest malaria burdened countries in Africa are Francophone countries; Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DRC, Mali and Niger. Together, they account for one-quarter of the global malaria burden.
Source: RBM Partnership to End Malaria