Mr. Bishop (GA) – Madame Speaker, I rise today to recognize the importance of World Malaria Day, which will be commemorated this year on April 25th.
Recently, there has been significant progress in the fight against malaria. The U.S. government provided 15.6 million artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to treat acute malarial illnesses in 2008 alone. As a result of increased efforts to provide life-saving treatment and prevention efforts, countries like Rwanda and Zambia have achieved great success. In fact, the prevalence of malaria fell by 53% in Zambia from 2006 to 2008.
But we cannot afford to stop the fight now. Malaria still causes 350-500 million infections, and kills nearly one million people throughout the world each year, most of whom are young African children.
Malaria also affects families, communities, and countries as a whole. It is estimated that Africa spends nearly 40% of all health expenditures on malaria and that the continent loses $12 billion a year due to the disease; however, no loss is as great as the loss of a loved one. The cultural and socio-economic devastation are incomparable to the grief borne by families who must deal with this terrible disease.
I urge my colleagues to join me in recognizing World Malaria Day and in raising awareness about this disease, so that together we can win the fight against malaria.