Our campaign’s story began in 2006 with a sports column titled Nothing But Nets, in which Rick Reilly issued a call to action: send nets to help protect families from malaria.
More than 15 years later, the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign has built a diverse network of over 350,000 supporters and partners. Working in partnership with endemic country leaders, health workers and partners, we have helped protect more than 39 million of the world’s most vulnerable people through the provision of over 13 million bed nets, along with testing, treatments, and other vital tools.
Our supporters have also effectively advocated for funding increases for life-saving malaria programs such as the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), and the UN. From bishops to basketball players and students to CEOs, this network has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement fighting to beat malaria for good.
Nothing But Nets has contributed to a remarkable period of progress in the fight against malaria- over the last 20 years, the malaria mortality rate has been cut in half.
But today, that progress is being threatened by a variety of global challenges, such as COVID-19 disruptions, insecticide and drug resistance, climate change and record levels of displacement. There is no silver bullet in this fight.
And while bed nets will remain a cornerstone of malaria prevention, our campaign has evolved to provide a full suite of innovative tools and strategies that meet the greatest needs of the communities we serve. We’ve also expanded our efforts to partner with malaria champions around the world who rally their communities and elected officials to fight this historic injustice.
And so, after 15 years, we’ve decided to unveil a new name that better reflects our multi-pronged and inclusive approach to fighting malaria.
Nothing But Nets is now United to Beat Malaria!
Our new name, United to Beat Malaria, is a reflection of our diverse array of donors, partners, and champions, and how we bring people together to work towards our shared bold mission: to eradicate this ancient disease within this generation.
Although our brand will look different on the outside, our core mission remains the same. We will continue to prioritize protecting those most at-risk of malaria – particularly young children, pregnant women, people displaced by conflict and natural disasters, and remote communities with limited healthcare access. And we will step up our drumbeat of advocacy for vital global malaria programs – notably The Global Fund and PMI – two of the main drivers behind the 1.7 billion malaria cases averted and the 10.6 million lives saved over the last 20 years.
While it won’t be easy, there is so much reason for optimism. Thanks to a wave of innovation in the malaria space and a massive scale-up of these new interventions, the malaria mortality rate has dropped by over 50% since 2000. Twenty-one countries have eliminated the disease in that timeframe. The possibility of a malaria-free world within our lifetimes is no longer a pipedream.
And yet, there is still so much work to be done. In 2020, malaria claimed 627,000 lives, 76% of whom were children under 5. This number represents a 12% increase from the previous year, due largely to service restrictions caused by COVID-19. Even before COVID-19, progress was stalling due to insecticide and drug resistance, plateaued funding and wavering political will.
Today, a child dies nearly every minute from this preventable disease. This is simply unacceptable. Hundreds of millions of bed nets, treatments, and other tools are distributed every year. But far too many families still lack access to these affordable interventions.
With decades of progress at risk, the time is now to boldly reinforce what is at stake in the fight against malaria. COVID-19 has exposed global health inequities and shown us that progress towards eradication is fragile.
We have no time to lose.
We must scale up access to malaria interventions where the burden is greatest. We must build effective partnerships across borders and sectors. And we must continue to galvanize the next generation of champions that will one day lead the global malaria community.
United to Beat Malaria reflects both the urgency of the moment and the continued optimism that, together, we can wipe out the oldest pandemic and one of the deadliest diseases in human history within our lifetimes!
Together, we are united to beat malaria. And together, we can achieve a healthier, more equitable world. Join us at beatmalaria.org.