A series of events to commemorate this year’s world malaria day will take place in Paris, France on April 25.
The events will be organised across the city centre to recognize the importance of Francophone contributions to the fight against malaria, and the need to step up the fight to accelerate progress against the preventable and treatable disease.
A communiqué from Roll Back Malaria program reads that this year’s theme, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ will empower individuals across the world to make a personal commitment to saving millions of more lives and help communities and economies to thrive by ending malaria.
In addition to events taking place in Paris, the RBM Partnership and the French government are planning events in Francophone countries, where 313 million people are at risk of malaria. Indeed, half of the 10 highest malaria burdened countries are Francophone countries.
Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, Board Chair, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, says, “World Malaria Day offers people all over the world the opportunity to step up the fight against malaria at a time when global malaria cases are on the rise and funding has flatlined.”
“We cannot accept this as status quo, rather each one of us must commit to ensuring universal access to life-saving interventions for the hundreds of millions of people around the world still at risk of malaria,” she adds.
According to Professor A. Buzyn, the French Minister for Solidarity and Health, now is the time to reignite the fight against malaria, as progress is stalling. He stresses that in 2017, for the first time in ten years, the number of malaria cases increased again, affecting 219 million people.
“The African continent accounts for over 90% of this burden and seven West and Central African countries are among the most affected.
We must give ourselves the means of fighting this preventable and treatable disease, that kills one child every two minutes.
On the 25th April, France will reassert its full commitment to the fight against malaria, through multilateral financing, as well as through our government agencies, civil society, and our research institutes,” he says.
Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, says the city of Paris is proud to host this year's World Malaria Day.
“With more than 6 million euros spent each year, Paris is one of the principal local authority contributors to international aid, particularly in the areas of health, combatting pandemics and sanitation.
"I hope that this day will enable us to raise awareness of the importance of this commitment among Parisians, as it fully reflects the solidarity of Paris.”
According to Jimmy Opigo, the manager malaria control program at the ministry of health, malaria deaths in Uganda have reduced by half in the last four years.
In 2015, 6,100 people died of malaria, which reduced to 5700 in 2016. The death figures further reduced to 5100 in 2017 and 1600 by October 2018.