Malaria, a disease spread through mosquitoes carrying the plasmodium parasite, is responsible for 200 million illnesses a year. Of those 200 million new cases each year, approximately 600,000 of those people will die, including one child every 60 seconds. This is both a humanitarian and an economic crisis. Africa loses approximately $12 billion a year in productivity and healthcare costs due to malaria.
Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. In 2005, President George W. Bush started the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) to help protect the world's most vulnerable populations - primarily women and children - from the disease. The PMI supports proven and cost-effective prevention and treatment interventions, and distributes insecticide-treated bed nets to people living in high risk zones. At the same time, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“the Global Fund”) raises money from world governments and international organizations to stop the spread of all three diseases. In total, the Global Fun provides 60% of the world’s funding to end malaria deaths and, since its creation in 2002, has distributed more than 270 million insecticide-treated nets to protect families from malaria. The United States’ contribution to the Global Fund is limited to 33%. For every dollar we contribute, other donors must contribute at least two.
Even though these life-saving initiatives amount to less than one half of one percent of the United States’ federal budget, they continue to be threatened in Congress. It is critical that we urge Congress to protect funding for the PMI and the Global Fund during the next round of budget debates. We also urge members of Congress to join the Malaria and Neglected Tropical Disease Caucus as a way to learn more about this disease, its economic and social burdens, and how the U.S. government can continue to lead this fight.
Our tradition teaches that we cannot “stand idly by the blood of our neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16) and must pursue healing, rodeph rephuah. In today’s increasingly global society, we are all neighbors. By limiting the aid we provide to fight malaria, we limit our help to those who need us to prevent and overcome the disease.
Take Action Now
Contact your members of Congress and ask them to support $680 million for the President’s Malaria Initiative and $1.65 billion for the Global Fund for Fiscal Year 14. The Capitol Switchboard can be reached at 202.224.3121 or you can send an e-mail by entering your zip code below.
For more information, please contact Program Coordinator Veronica Grant 202.387.2800