United to Beat Malaria celebrates today’s news that the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) plans to expand its reach in East and West Africa, forming partnerships with three new countries: Burundi, The Gambia, and Togo. This expansion would bring the total number of PMI partner countries and programs to 30, with 27 in sub-Saharan Africa and three in Southeast Asia’s Greater Mekong subregion.
Margaret Reilly McDonnell, Executive Director of United to Beat Malaria, said: “PMI’s new partnerships would be a significant step forward in the fight against malaria, and a testament to the longstanding bipartisan support from Congress and the persistent advocacy of grassroots malaria champions and partners. These advocacy efforts helped secure $795 million in PMI funding – a $20 million increase – in Fiscal Year 2023, which in turn made this program expansion possible. We call on Congress to sustain or strengthen PMI funding in FY24.”
“Considering PMI’s proven track record of success, I’m optimistic that these collaborations will help prevent millions of malaria cases, save many lives, and strengthen health systems towards our ultimate goal of a malaria-free Africa and world. Especially given the myriad threats that we’re currently facing – resistance, the emergence of Anopheles Stephensi, climate change, and others – the increased funds and new partnerships are more important than ever,” Ms. McDonnell continued.
PMI brings a strong track record of building community and country-level partnerships that deliver results. Since 2006, malaria cases and deaths have declined by 27.2% and 45.6%, respectively, in the 27 existing PMI partner countries. These countries currently account for almost 90% of all malaria cases and deaths globally. Burundi, The Gambia, and Togo represent 6.5% of the global malaria burden, with more than 16 million suspected malaria cases in 2021, per the World Health Organization.
Dr. David Walton, US Global Malaria Coordinator, said: “Mosquitoes don’t respect borders. Expanding to additional countries in the West and East Africa corridors would provide increased protection from malaria for people in both new and existing partner countries. The expansion would also enable PMI to further leverage existing U.S. government investments for maximum impact, including those in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.”
Led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and co-implemented with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PMI works closely with countries to scale up vital interventions such as insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnostic tests, and anti-malarial treatments. PMI also works to strengthen malaria-affected health systems by training health workers and scientists, improving supply chains, advancing data monitoring, promoting healthy behaviors, and more.
Launched in 2006 with a budget of $30 million, PMI has invested approximately $9 billion over the past 16 years to help partner countries fight malaria. In 2022, PMI’s $746 million investment enabled the program to reach more than 700 million people worldwide. The new partnerships planned for 2023 would be PMI’s first expansion since 2017, when Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Sierra Leone joined as partner countries.
“The continued growth of PMI and the Global Fund reflects a continued confidence in these programs, which have shown tremendous value, adaptability, and resilience – including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two decades, PMI and the Global Fund have driven progress forward in this fight, helping save over 11.7 million lives, avert over 2 billion cases, and propel over 20 countries to achieve zero malaria,” Ms. McDonnell said.
“It’s thanks to consistent, bipartisan congressional support and understanding of the multitude positive benefits at home and abroad that these programs can continue to grow, adapt to emerging threats, and help develop resilient, localized capacity to fight disease. I’d like to give a special thanks to our amazing Champion advocates and partners, whose advocacy over the years has helped build and sustain bipartisan Congressional support for these life-saving programs,” Ms. McDonnell continued.