Right now is a pivotal moment for the world and for the malaria community. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to mobilize leaders and partners around the world to win the fight against malaria in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, or Global Goals. These goals were agreed upon at the United Nations at the end of September and will serve as world’s to-do list to end extreme poverty by 2030. When the world is focused on a set of issues at one point in time, dialogue begins and progress takes shape. There are five important things I heard during UN Week and want to share with you. These moments should encourage us all that we can indeed be the generation that defeats malaria.
On September 27-28, the United Nations Foundation, Mashable, and a number of other partners hosted the Social Good Summit at the 92nd Street Y in New York, bringing together a community of advocates, experts, business leaders, digital influencers, and more to share ideas about how we can build a better world by 2030 in support of the Global Goals.
Speakers included heads of United Nations agencies, leaders of major NGOs, celebrities, diplomats, CEOs, and local activists. The discussions touched on all of the global goals and truly showed how they are all inter-connected.
As Victoria Beckham said when introducing Global Goal #3: “Access to good healthcare shouldn’t depend on where you live.”
President Obama addressed the United Nations twice in support of the Global Goals. While he praised the progress made over the last fifteen years against extreme poverty, he stated, “Many children are just one mosquito bite away from death. That is a moral outrage. It is a profound injustice. ”I couldn’t agree more – a child dies every 60 seconds from malaria.
On September 28, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria hosted “The Path Toward Universal Health Coverage” with the governments of Japan, France, Senegal, Liberia, Thailand, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Bank at the United Nations.
This event promoted equitable global health and human security in the post-2015 era and brought together high-level political representatives and NGO leadership to highlight the role of universal health coverage as an essential element of human security.
The event highlighted the need to take a new look at global healthcare challenges and bring in new ideas, new technology, and new innovations to fund the eradication of preventable diseases, like malaria.
We are excited to announce a major new partnership with Sumitomo Chemical Co., one of the largest global bednet manufacturers. Unveiled at a special United Nations event on September 26, Sumitomo Chemical issued a matching grant challenge to our supporters to help protect one million vulnerable refugees from malaria with life-saving nets. This means every net you send to protect vulnerable refugees from malaria will be matched by Sumitomo Chemical to double your impact.
This year, we launched The Million Nets Pledge to protect refugee families from malaria with one million nets by 2016. This ambitious two-year goal aims to raise $10 million to protect vulnerable people fleeing violence, particularly in Central Africa.
To cap off a week of excitement, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations’ Secretary Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and for Malaria released a report, “From Aspiration to Action: What Will It Take to End Malaria?”
The report reinforces the progress we have made in combatting malaria over the past 15 years. The number of children who die from the disease has fallen by more than 50 percent, and the United Nations estimates that 6.2 million lives have been saved by malaria interventions between 2000 and 2015. However, malaria still infects one billion people and kills nearly 500,000 children each year.
The main message is this: A malaria-free world will not happen by accident. We can be the generation that defeats malaria, if we take action now.