Malaria Takes the Stage

Throughout the first two days of the Social Good Summit, hosted by Mashable, the UN Foundation, 92Y, and Ericsson, malaria has been making headlines. The disease is ripe for its time in the limelight. Preventable through simple, cost effective solutions and the recent subject of a high profile study validating the effectiveness of bednet use, malaria is a daily challenge in the lives of millions who live in malaria endemic areas, but has also become a global challenge due to the increase in travel across country borders.
 
Yesterday at the Summit, USAID Administrator Raj Shah highlighted expanding on the rapid reduction in child malaria deaths as one of three key action items for the Agency to reduce child mortality by up to one-half. Today, Mandy Moore and Randy Zuckerberg took the stage in the closing session to talk about Nothing But Nets, and Rear. Adm. Tim Ziemer, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, came by 92Y to see the presentation.
 
In a conversation with Ziemer, he highlighted why the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has been successful. Key elements of the program included leadership across agencies and political lines, simple interventions, strong monitoring and evaluation plans, transparency, partnerships with organizations on the ground like Peace Corps, and, perhaps most importantly, country by-in.
 
The program supports the efforts of other global malaria programs, including those through the World Bank and Global Fund. Monitoring data from the project is freely available through the website, where you can read about the successes in across the PMI countries, where we’ve seen a 20-40% reduction in child mortality over the last five years.
 
Malaria is not a disease that can be dealt with as a silo or in isolation from other health services, though, and PMI supports real and genuine integration of health services across technical areas. Programs like USAID’s MCHIP provide an opportunity for experts across technical areas to work together and find ways to link projects and programs in recipient countries, working to set priorities with the input of key local stakeholders.
 
Addressing malaria in pregnancy continues to be a priority both for MCHIP, as a USAID-funded program, and for PMI. Pregnant women are one of the most vulnerable populations for malaria, due to the effects infection can have both on the woman and her unborn child. PMI is aligned with the Agency’s focus on women’s health, and has worked to provide intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) for women at antenatal care visits. This illustrates just one example where malaria programming has been integrated with general maternal health services.
 
The importance of addressing the challenge of malaria, and the great possibilities for preventing and treating the disease, were echoed in the town hall-style presentation done by Nothing But Nets. You can follow the conversation online by looking at the questions and responses from twitter or by following the hashtag #socialgood for more updates coming out of the Summit through Thursday.

Amanda Makulec
Monitoring and Evaluation Associate, JSI

This post was also published on the USAID Impact blog.

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