An estimated 435,000 people died of malaria in 2017, and progress in fighting the disease has leveled off according to the World Health Organization's most recent World Malaria Report.

A child dies of this preventable and treatable disease every two minutes. Moreover, malaria is a leading cause of poverty and impacts worker productivity. It undermines development progress while placing a heavy burden on local health systems and on a government's finances. The sad truth is that this human tragedy is entirely avoidable and zero malaria can be attained with additional interventions.

Malaria Has Its Day

World Malaria Day (April 25) is a campaign of the World Health Organization (WHO) that seeks to shed light on the fight to end malaria. This year's theme is "Zero malaria starts with me" —a title gleaned from the continent-wide campiagn in Africa to eliminate malaria. The WHO is joining the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, the African Union Commission, and other partner organizations to get the word out and create greater momentum toward eradication.

Cyclone Idai Puts Mozambique at Risk

Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique in mid-March and caused massive flooding and destruction. The pooled water has since created fertile conditions for mosquitos and an increased risk of malaria, which is unsettling news in a country where the burden of malaria was already high.

ADPP Mozambique, a Mozambican development agency, is Planet Aid's partner and a member of the Humana People to People Federation. ADPP is currently working with organizations on the ground to facilitate aid to victims of the cyclone, which includes the distribution of malaria kits. ADPP recently distributed approximately 500 mosquito nets in the village of Muda, a community in the Nhamatanda District where ADPP operates a teacher training college and implements other projects. Priority for the distribution was given to pregnant women, women with children, and the elderly. The distribution was made possible with the support of ExxonMobile.

You can read more about the ongoing efforts (called the "Start Over" campaign) on ADPP Mozambique's Facebook page.

Planet Aid's Support for Ending Malaria

Elsewhere, Planet Aid is lending a hand in the fight to end malaria though support of programs being implemented by other organizations. For example, in 2017, Planet Aid supported Humana People to People South Africa in fighting malaria by supporting testing and education. In that one year alone, HPP-South Africa tested 42,884 people for malaria using a rapid diagnosis test, and 395 people were found positive and were referred for treatment.

While South Africa is no longer a high-burden country for malaria, there are still hundreds of deaths due to malaria there each year, and cases of malaria are on the rise. In 2017, there was about 20,000 malaria cases reported in South Africa, four times the number from 2016. This increase is cause for concern, and has spotlighted the need for more intervention.

Just two days before World Malaria Day a large-scale pilot test of a new malaria vaccine was launched in Malawi. The vaccine is expected to help reduce cases among children but does not offer full protection. Read more in the Guardian.

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