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Secretary-General and Secretary of State call for an end to Malaria

26 April 2010

London, 26 April: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have both used World Malaria Day 2010 as an opportunity to speak of the urgent necessity to act against malaria.

 In her statement to mark the day, Clinton noted that progress has been made but that much more needs to be done “to stop the spread of this preventable and curable disease”.

 Secretary Clinton highlighted the elevated risk malaria poses to vulnerable people:

 “The most vulnerable among us — children, pregnant women, and people living with HIV/AIDS — are the hardest hit by malaria”, and re-affirmed the commitment of the US to working to end the disease, “The United States is committed to reducing the threat of malaria worldwide.”

 In his speech to commemorate World Malaria Day 2010, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acknowledged the “dramatic expansion” in the war against malaria, which kills nearly 1 million people a year and puts 3.3 billion others, half the world’s population, at risk, but said that vigilance must be the order of the day against this deadly foe.

 Every year, there are about 250 million malaria cases worldwide, with people living in the poorest countries the most vulnerable.

 The Secretary General noted that those countries that could provide bed nets and treatment to significant proportions of their people had seen malaria cases and deaths fall by as much as 50 per cent, as well as an overall drop in child mortality rates.

 “But our optimism must also be leavened with caution,” he warned. “Malaria is a tenacious foe. To sustain current gains we must be vigilant. Parasite resistance to anti-malarial medicines is a considerable threat, and the use of artemisinin-based monotherapies is the principal force behind its spread.”

 The emergence of an artemisin-resistant form of malaria along the border between Cambodia and Thailand has emerged within the past 12 months, that could seriously undermine global successes in controlling the disease. The World Health Organisation has recommended the use of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT), and Ban called on the world community to remove all oral artemisinin-based monotherapies from the supply chain.

 “The global campaign against malaria has shown what is possible when the international community joins forces on multiple fronts to tackle a disease that takes its heaviest toll on poor and underprivileged populations,” he said.

 “Strong commitment has sparked innovation: creative initiatives have facilitated the delivery of massive numbers of mosquito nets; ground-breaking partnerships are developing new malaria medicines and making existing medicines more accessible and affordable. The challenge now is to ensure that all who are exposed to malaria can receive quality-assured diagnosis and treatment. The advances of recent years show that the battle against malaria can be won.”

 For further information, please contact Diana Thomas


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