World Malaria Day
The April 25th World Malaria Day this year, under the theme “Zero Malaria Starts with me”, wants to highlight the importance of robust international and national epidemiological surveillance and health care systems and to sustain malaria prevention and control interventions.
Indeed, despite of the remarkable progress made, malaria still remains a major health and social burden. Close to a quarter million children are dying every year, one every two minutes, and over 200 million people affected need care.
Robust health systems are therefore our primary line of defense, and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has continued to be heavily involved in projects for health system preparedness, strengthening and resilience which are at the cornerstone of its Global Health Institute and its anti-malarial engagement.
In addition to the development of innovations and technologies, the institute has implemented on the ground training to detect communicable and fever-related diseases that will reach beyond malaria.
Recently, the Institute, at the forefront of research in the field, has generated unprecedented data on the local presence of the malaria pathogen parasites (Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale) through a collaborative pilot project in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia which is currently broadening its scope. In partnership with local institutions in Africa, the Institute is establishing PAVON (Pan-African Vivax and Ovale Network): an African Network of Centers of Excellence for the epidemiological surveillance and scientific research on malaria. Involving over 10 African countries, the project has the objective to support policy making, to offer trainings to the next generation of African scientists and thus, to make health care systems more resilient to crisis.
Defining this network for the epidemiological surveillance of P.vivax and P.ovale - forms of malaria that were never thought to be present in Africa before - is a need as it will allow to control all forms of malaria and be ready for response to disease threats. But this cannot be all. In these difficult times, our company aims at marking World Malaria Day on April 25th to continue its efforts for life-saving malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment services.
Zero Malaria starts with us: Let’s be the generation that ends Malaria!
Today, half of the world population is at risk of malaria. In 2018, there were an estimated 228 million cases of malaria worldwide – 405,000 people died from the disease, with more than 90% of cases and deaths concentrated in Africa. Malaria strikes hardest against pregnant women and children in sub-Saharan Africa – children under five still accounted for almost 70% of all malaria deaths worldwide. Every two minutes, a child dies from the disease.
One Merck for Malaria Program: Our integrated approach against malaria
At Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in the last years, the Global Health unit has advanced its comprehensive portfolio of projects for transformative health solutions for infectious diseases, mainly for schistosomiasis and malaria. For malaria, in partnership with the other business sectors in the company, the Global Health Institute has been developing an approach to prevent malaria:
These activities conducted in close collaborations with National Malaria Control Programs and local key stakeholders, mainly in Africa, contributes to health care system and research capacity strengthening.