World Malaria Day is a significant point in the calendar each year for education and advocacy around the fight against malaria. In 2018, it is perhaps more poignant than before in recent times, following on the wake-up call of our declining efficacy in this fight as contained within the World Health Organisation World Malaria Report 2017. Last week on the 18th April 2018, The Malaria Summit London held during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, raised the profile of the fight against this deadly disease, featuring pledges of support totalling £2.9 billion and presentations from Bill Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Tedros Adehanom of the WHO, and a whole range of industry leaders and stakeholders. Additionally, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria held their Pan African conference for 2018 in the same week. The visibility of the malaria problem has seen new invigoration in the culmination of these events.
The MENTOR Initiative has featured in multiple sources during this time period; below are some of the highlights:
In a press release from the meeting, Richard Allan, with The Mentor Initiative, a nongovernmental organization that works against malaria in countries experiencing humanitarian crises, said, “The global battle against malaria is going to fail unless we get real about where the malaria burden is today and expand the tools and techniques we use to fight it.”
“In conflict zones we find that many malaria deaths occur while people are on the road trying to get to treatment,” Allan said. “Saving their life requires embracing pragmatism in places where medical perfection is a distant dream.”
“Allan noted that waging effective anti-malaria campaigns in areas experiencing conflict and crisis requires studying what works, embracing a wider assortment of tools and tactics, and being willing to spend more than it costs to fight the disease in relatively stable settings. He noted that global progress against malaria over the last 10 years, while substantial, is partly the product of “harvesting the low hanging fruit.” Allan also noted that the burden of malaria that persists in Africa could get worse, and not just because of conflict. He said drought and famine that is becoming more widespread in the region is also an issue, as it leads to malnutrition, which weakens the immune system and, especially in children, limits absorption of anti-malaria drugs”
“All too often we try to make the wrong tool fit the context,” Allen said in an interview ahead of the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria’s (MIM) pan-African conference this week.
“Where is a displaced person going to hang a net?” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The MENTOR Initiative were also featured in a printed pull-out supplementary “Fight Against Malaria” in The Guardian by MediaPlanetUK, and subsequently two articles (see below) in the online campaign which coincided with World Malaria Day 2018. The campaign includes articles from a wide range of industry leaders including Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance, The Global Fund, and the RBM Partnership To End Malaria.