Today, April 25, is World Malaria Day and “Invest in the future: Defeat Malaria” is this year’s theme. World Malaria Day was started as an occasion to highlight the need for continued action, investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.
Since 2000, global efforts against the disease have reduced malaria mortality rates by 42% globally and 49% in Africa. Increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places. However, there is still work to be done. Malaria still kills an estimated 627,000 people a year, most of them children under five in Africa. One child dies every minute in Africa from Malaria, and yet this disease is preventable and curable.
The only way to control and defeat the disease is vector control – preventing the bites of mosquitoes that carry the disease. The most effective way to do this is through the distribution of mosquito nets. However, fear continues to grow that the virus is developing a resistance against the insecticides being used. A malaria vaccine is currently being evaluated in a large clinical trial, and officials hope that a successful vaccine will eventually be developed.
About USD$5 billion is needed annually to tackle malaria worldwide. History shows that years when funding for malaria goes down, there is a resurgence of cases, losing valuable gains made in the fight against malaria. Funding needs to stay consistent and hopefully grow to finally defeat the disease for good.
Pray that God’s shalom would come to these communities. Disease is a tool of the devil to distort god’s plan for people around the world. When children and communities are ravaged by disease, they are not able to lead the life God desires for them, and this is an assault on the kingdom of God. Pray that more Christians will be mobilized this year to work on defeating and eradicating this disease; pray that donors and countries will increase their funding for malaria prevention and research; and pray for those in communities stricken by the disease, that they will encounter hope and healing.