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Malaria is a complex disease that has caused sickness and death among human beings for thousands of years. In the 20th century, mortality due to malaria has been estimated at 2–5% of all deaths. Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes in the genus Anopheles. When a mosquito bites an infected person, it injects the parasites, which then multiply and develop inside the mosquito. When the mosquito bites another person, the parasites are transmitted through the mosquito’s saliva into the person’s bloodstream. The parasites then enter the person’s red blood cells and begin to multiply again, causing the symptoms of malaria.

While many nations have been declared free of malaria, it remains a serious global health problem, primarily among children and in Africa. In 2020, malaria caused an estimated 627,000 deaths, 77% of them among children under the age of five and 96% of them in Africa. Malaria also is a serious global socioeconomic problem. Children exposed to malaria grow up to exhibit lower levels of literacy, and persistent childhood malaria reduces adult income by 50%. Malaria reduces economic growth by up to 1.3% per year in endemic countries, an effect that compounds over time.

The good news is that we have new tools in this fight. The vaccine RTS,S is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has been shown to reduce hospital admissions from severe malaria in children by 30%. The vaccine R21/Matrix-M has a higher level of efficacy and could be approved by the WHO as soon as this year.

These vaccines require multiple doses to provide full protection, and the WHO recommends that they be delivered not on their own, but as part of comprehensive anti-malaria programs, potentially including insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), and intermittent preventive treatment of malaria for pregnant women (IPTp). These interventions rely on the Community Health Worker (#CHW), who represents the front line in the fight against malaria. CHWs serve their local communities, providing testing, interventions, and #healthcare referrals, and reporting statistics to enable authorities to intervene quickly and decisively in response to problems.

This is where Malaria Partners International comes in. As Rotarians, we work with local Rotary Clubs in malaria-endemic regions to harness the power of Rotary members who have the expertise, relationships, compassion, and will to do good in their communities. We also work with #RotaryClubs in developed nations and Rotary International to provide critical funding and other support for malaria reduction projects. And as an independent organization, we work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Vision, and other sources of funding and operational expertise and capabilities.

We are uniquely positioned to bring together local and international Rotarians, Rotary International, foundations, charitable organizations, and many others to reduce the burden of malaria today and build momentum for making the eradication of malaria the next great cause of the Rotary community—to ignite an international Rotary campaign to end malaria. We are honored to share this goal and this journey.

 

January 2024 Science & Research Report

January 2024 Science & Research Report

The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified Cabo Verde as a malaria-free country, marking a significant achievement in global health. With this announcement, Cabo Verde joins the ranks of 43 countries and 1 territory that WHO has awarded this certification. Cabo...

Rotary District 5030 Statement of Support: Malaria Partners Zimbabwe

Rotary District 5030 Statement of Support: Malaria Partners Zimbabwe

Make no mistake, malaria is a killer. There are some 214 million cases each year and it is the most widely spread disease in sub-Saharan Africa.  It takes the lives of some 435,000 people each year and 90% of these deaths are in Africa.  It is, without a doubt, a...

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