United States Agency for International Development
Malaria, one of the world’s oldest pandemics, was eliminated from the United States 70 years ago, and today, for most Americans, a mosquito bite is a mild irritation. But for nearly half of the world’s population, a mosquito bite can lead to severe illness or death. Of the 241 million malaria cases in 2020, 627,000 led to death, the majority of them young children. In fact, across the world, a child dies of malaria almost every minute.
Sixteen years ago, President George W. Bush launched the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative to help limit the number of malaria infections and deaths with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Led by USAID, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Initiative delivers lifesaving interventions like insecticide-treated nets and medicines that can treat malaria. And it has sparked global efforts that collectively have saved more than 10 million lives.
In the past year, the Initiative provided resources that benefited 700 million people at risk of malaria. It delivered nets that protected 91 million people at night and sprayed the homes of 21 million people, giving them protection where it matters most. Our support provided 5 million pregnant women with treatments to keep them and their unborn babies safe and gave 8 million children medicine to keep them safe during high-risk malaria seasons.
These results are particularly impressive given that the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative used its tools and expertise to simultaneously battle COVID-19. From Liberia to Thailand, community health workers, using the skills they developed to track down and treat malaria fevers, found and helped people with COVID-19, promoted mask wearing alongside mosquito nets, and educated their neighbors about the benefits of vaccines. And laboratory technicians trained to test for malaria used similar skills to analyze COVID-19 strains.
While we must tackle challenges such as climate change, conflict, and drug and insecticide resistance that threaten to set back our hard-won gains against malaria, the progress and opportunities generated by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative are helping bring us closer to a world free from malaria. We have the knowledge and the tools to eradicate malaria—more effective insecticide-treated mosquito nets, better diagnostics and drugs, and the first-ever malaria vaccine. I am confident that the United States, along with our global and country partners, can draw on these innovations and commit to finally ridding the world of this deadly disease.For more on the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, and PMI’s 16th Annual Report, please visit https://www.pmi.gov/resources/annual-reports