Newswise — Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is bringing together some of the best minds in academia, government and faith-based organizations on World Malaria Day, Friday, April 25, 2014, for a day of discussion on leveraging community involvement to combat malaria in Africa. World Malaria Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), has been celebrated globally each year since 2008.
The day will focus on current and innovative intervention strategies to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality at the community level as well cutting-edge research. Panelists will also look to the future of malaria control through the lens of donors, academia and faith-based organizations.
Efforts to reduce malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives since 2000, reducing mortality rates by 42% globally and 49% in Africa, according to WHO. However, malaria still results in approximately 627,000 deaths each year, mostly children under the age of 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, approximately 200 million cases of malaria occur each year. According to WHO, 97 countries had ongoing malaria transmission in 2013.
The day will start with comments from the U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, who leads the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a team effort led by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the past year alone, PMI protected more than 21 million residents by spraying houses with insecticides, procured over 40 million long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets, more than 51 million malaria rapid diagnostic tests, and over 48 million courses of first-line malaria treatment drugs, and trained over 61,000 health care workers on how to treat malaria cases.
Rear Admiral Ziemer will discuss malaria donor priorities and the need for broad-based collaboration to shrink the malaria map and end malaria for good. “We must engage academia, researchers, the private sector, community groups and faith-based organizations to solve global health challenges,” Ziemer said. “The synergies make it possible for ideas to become reality and for innovation to marry proven approaches for maximum impact.”
Academia presentations from both research and program implementation will showcase how academia contributes a wealth of tools to combat malaria. “Malaria research and practice go hand in hand,” said Nobel laureate Dr. Peter Agre, Director of the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute. “One can’t succeed without the other and we have some very compelling examples of how the two increase the impact of efforts made by government and faith-based organizations.”
World Malaria Day at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will include presentations from Lutheran World Relief, Catholic Relief Services and Nothing But Nets, a U.N. Foundation campaign. Panelists will highlight how faith-based organizations can take malaria interventions the last critical mile, to communities underserved by many programs in the most rural parts of malaria-endemic Africa.
“Faith-based organizations have an unparalleled connection with the community that provides an excellent platform for malaria messages, services and commodities. That very last bit, from the district to the community level, is often the toughest and faith-based organizations are uniquely placed to bolster ongoing efforts by providing the last push needed for success in malaria control programs,” said Tim McCully, Vice President for International Programs at Lutheran World Relief.
Ms. Gabrielle Fitzgerald from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will receive the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs’ prestigious Gold Medallion award for her leadership in malaria advocacy efforts. Other presenters include Dr. S. Patrick Kachur, Malaria Branch Chief at CDC, Ms. Susan Krenn, Director of the Center for Communication Programs, Ms. Michele Broemmelsiek, Vice President for Overseas Operations of Catholic Relief Services, Dr. William Moss from the Malaria Research Institute, Dr. Koki Agarwal from Jhpiego, and Dr. Philip E. Thuma from the Macha Research Trust in Zambia.
The panels will run through the day. All panels are open to the press.
WHEN: World Malaria Day, Friday, April 25, 2014, 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM.WHERE: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21205