Opinion Pieces Discuss Efforts, Funding Needed To Continue Progress Toward Global Malaria Elimination

Devex: Opinion: Combating the deadliest animal on Earth
Tom Hart, North America executive director of the ONE Campaign

“…After over 15 years of strong U.S. support for the Global Fund, we’ve reached an impasse where President Trump appears ready to trade our hard-fought gains for a white flag of surrender. Last month, the White House proposed a budget that would drastically cut the U.S. historic contribution to the Global Fund … Pulling back [from the Global Fund] now will signal retreat at a time when we should be doubling down on the progress we’ve already made. The heartbreaking reality of malaria is that children — who through no fault of their own were born into a home without a bed net or a village without a hospital — are its biggest target. It’s within our collective power to stop this outrage, but getting there will require the United States and other donors to continue their full-throated support of programs including the Global Fund that are helping stop malaria one bite at a time…” (4/25).

The Hill: New malaria vaccine: A new biotechnology for the children of Africa
Peter J. Hotez, vaccine scientist, professor of pediatrics, and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine

“…While lives have been saved, the overall progress in the fight against malaria is still slow, and it would be great to have in-hand a game-changing technology to accelerate future public health gains. … [T]he most effective way to save lives is through the development, testing, and ultimately introduction of a vaccine. For malaria, several vaccines are in different stages of product and clinical development, but the one furthest along is known as RTS,S … The delivery of a partially-protective vaccine [such as RTS,S] being used alongside of existing measures is a relatively new idea in the global health community, and one that might take time for policymakers to accept. But it’s one that we’ll need to get used to. … I hope it becomes the first of several new vaccines to come online for the world’s most prevalent neglected diseases” (4/25).

Miami Herald: We can — and must — stop malaria in the Americas
Henri R. Ford, pediatric surgeon and dean of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine

“…Malaria elimination in the Americas is … a matter of health security. … Ongoing support to programs such as the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is essential. … Strong U.S. leadership must work with country partners to save lives, protect public health across the region, and prevent a malaria resurgence here at home. Overcoming the challenge of diagnosing and treating malaria in remote areas will require continued partnerships between governments, the private sector, communities, and international institutions. Support from entities like PMI and the Global Fund, with sustained investment from donor countries including the U.S., has helped save millions of lives from malaria. This disease can be wiped out, but not if we stand still. We must step up the fight to end malaria in the Americas — and everywhere — for good” (4/24).

The Telegraph: Tackling malaria at the grassroots is key to its elimination
Olivia Ngou, founder and executive director of Impact Santé Afrique and member of Civil Society for Malaria Elimination (CS4ME) and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria

“…As we mark World Malaria Day on April 25 it is time to think again about how to combat a disease that still kills 250,000 children in Africa every year. Scientific research into vaccines and drugs is of course vital, but working with communities to tackle the disease where it hits — in villages and towns across Africa — is a key part of the battle. … Civil Society 4 Malaria Elimination was established to tackle the disease at the grassroots. It is the first global network of community and civil society organizations working for the elimination of malaria. It aims to promote more inclusive and effective programs that focus on communities and are based on social, gender, and human rights. … I see the concrete progress we are making every day but we must take the fight to the people the disease hits hardest” (4/25).

The Hill: Malaria kills 1,000 children daily, now there’s a vaccine to fight it
Chris Plowe, professor of medicine, molecular genetics and microbiology, and global health at Duke University and director of the Duke Global Health Institute

“…The vaccine [launched last week] in Malawi is no silver bullet. … Still, there is good reason to hope that the ‘world’s first’ will be followed by something better, perhaps soon. A completely different vaccine — one that, in a strange but satisfying biological twist, is actually manufactured in mosquitoes — will soon be rolled out in a large field test on Bioko Island off the coast of Equatorial Guinea, aiming to eliminate malaria there. What these vaccines have in common, along with many of our best malaria drugs over the last century, is that they were developed with U.S. government funding, including long-term funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and especially the Department of Defense malaria research programs. The importance of this sustained public commitment to innovation cannot be overlooked. If we hope to read news about tomorrow’s more effective vaccines, we need to remain committed to funding the search for better tools today…” (4/24).