(Vatican Radio) On Thursday April 25th, people in countries across the
globe are taking part in a wide range of activities to mark the annual World Malaria
These activities look back at the remarkable progress that the global development community has made in fighting malaria, but aim also to give momentum to investments to eradicate this child-killer disease which is both preventable and curable.
Linda Bordoni asked James Whiting, Executive Director of the charity Malaria No More UK, why it is important to mark World Malaria Day…
“We were set up 4 years ago with the goal of ending suffering and death from malaria…it’s something that is increasingly becoming possible. We’re seeing deaths decreasing in Africa by about a third in the last 10 years and there’s a real prospect that we could defeat a disease that has killed more people in history than any other, in our lifetime….
It’s important to mark this day because it enables us to shout from the rooftops that no-one should die from a disease that costs £1 to treat and £5 to provide a net to prevent, yet when 90% of people who die in Africa are children under 5 and for the want of £1….we have it in our power to stop this.
10 years ago we were saying that a child dies every 45 seconds, now we’re saying that a child dies every minutes…..10 years ago there were a million children dying every year, now it’s down to just over half that…I think like any huge campaign, it’s had a really big launch and fantastic support from British and American governments, Gates foundation, people like that, but it’s at a point now where it has to sustained….the thing about malaria is that if you don’t keep your foot on the pedal then it comes back and comes back twice as hard. We’re seeing countries like Sri Lanka where there were millions of people affected by malaria each year and last year it was less than a hundred so this is doable but it takes a real effort by governments, people, businesses, everybody.
If you go internationally, they talk about how amazing Britain has been, not just the British government, it’s companies, it’s research, people like Imperial College, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine…ever since Ronald Ross first found the link with malaria, Britain has taken a leading role in this campaign…
If you want to support the malaria campaign go to our website, we’re a small charity and we need all the support we can get. But also, if you’re going abroad, do take care, go to your doctor, consult the Foreign Office website and check what you need to do…
What we need in the malaria campaign is our global leaders…..I hope that would be something Pope Francis might think worth getting behind, because it does affect the poorest people in the world and within them if affects children under 5 and pregnant women more than anyone else…"