Let’s Renew Our Pledge on World Malaria Day 2009

Every year, April 25th is celebrated throughout the world to honor the pledge of uniting our efforts to free the world off malaria. Though great progress has been made by the concerted effort of the global community, malaria continues to claim millions of innocent lives every year.

Currently, there are about 109 malaria affected countries spread over 4 regions. According to an estimation made by WHO (World Health Organization) in 2006, about 250 million of world population were infected by malarial parasites. Almost one million children and pregnant women died of malaria that year alone!

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) developed a three-stage malaria elimination program. In the first stage, spread of malarial parasite will be controlled on region to region basis. In the second stage, focus will be on complete elimination of malaria in endemic countries. In the third and final stage, focus will be on complete eradication of malaria from every country of the world. The ultimate goal is to bring down death due to malaria to near zero by the year 2015.

Researchers of NIAID are trying to make significant progress in devising new ways to fight malaria. They are striving to find reliable methods to identify different species of malaria as well as drug-resistant strains that may emerge.

But these require specialized manpower and huge resources to invest in new tools to fight malaria. Most of all it requires long time commitment by all. World Malaria Day gives all of us a chance to make a positive difference to the quality of life lead by malaria-affected people of the world. Let’s not confine our goal to combat the disease only. We must also acknowledge and work for the rights of millions to lead a healthy disease-free life.

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