Geneva, 13 May 2011: The UK's Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, Stephen O' Brien, praised Malaria Consortium and photographer Adam Nadel for their powerful exhibition Malaria: blood, sweat, and tears.
Mr O'Brien was speaking at a high-profile reception for the exhibition at the World Health Organisation/ UNAIDS building in Geneva, hosted by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. Guests included African health ministers, embassy representatives, academics, researchers and activists from the global malaria community.
"It is unacceptable that nearly 800,000 people - mainly women and children in Africa - die every year from a disease that is entirely preventable and treatable," said Mr O'Brien.
"We are at a crucial point in the global battle against malaria. Considerable progress has been made in the use of bednets in the last 10 years. But we need to continue to adopt new and innovative approaches in order to sustain and expand these gains."
Mr O'Brien has visited many of the places captured in the exhibition in his former capacity as chairman of Malaria Consortium and is already familiar with the hardship and devastation caused by malaria, a disease which even now kills over 2,000 people a day and is estimated to cost Africa $12.5 billion each year.
He commented on some of the issues which are highlighted in the exhibition: "We can accelerate progress by placing greater emphasis on combating emerging drug resistance and increasing access to malaria diagnostic tests and effective treatment in countries that bear the highest burden. I am proud that Britain and its partner organisations are at the forefront of tackling malaria."
The exhibition was conceived by Malaria Consortium in partnership with award winning photographer Adam Nadel and is a highly informative illustration of the impact of malaria on individuals, families, governments, the environment, and the medical and the commercial sectors.
Malaria Consortium has programmes in each of the malaria-endemic countries represented in the exhibition - Cambodia, Nigeria and Uganda and in 2009, the organisation hosted visits by Nadel to each so that he could document the story of disease, both visually and verbally, as it was revealed by doctors, scientists and people who are affected.
Malaria: blood, sweat, and tears premiered last World Malaria Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with sponsorship from the insecticide treated net manufacturer Vestergaard Frandsen. It has since been shown at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, before appearing in Geneva, where it was opened on May 4 by Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO.
Speaking at the launch event, Dr Chan reiterated the importance of continued funding for the control and eventual elimination of malaria. Quoting Winston Churchill, Dr Chan said, "The aim must be victory, however long and hard the road may be, 'for without victory there is no survival'."
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Caption: UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, Stephen O' Brien talks with the Democratic Republic of the Congo Minister of Health, Dr Victor Makwenge Kaput, Malaria Consortium Executive Director, Sunil Mehra and Matt Lynch from Johns Hopkins University at the reception for the exhibition.
To watch the Minister's speech please click here