Around the world, malaria kills 3 thousand children each day. In the time it’s going to take you to read this article, 10 kids will die from the disease. So you can see the appeal of wiping out malaria in any small corner of the world where the chances of doing so seem good.
That's the context for considering the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's pledge of $29.9 million to the CDC Foundation to obliterate malaria on Hispañola (that’s half Haiti, half Dominican Republic, for the uninitiated).
The grant will support the creation of HaMEC, a Haiti Malaria Elimination Consortium that brings together the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC Foundation, the Haiti Ministry of Public Health and Population, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Public Health, the Pan American Health Organization, the Carter Center, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Yup, that's a lot of players, all gunning for the same goal. And there's plenty of momentum, too.
HaMEC's goals and operation will capitalize on a 2009 bi-national malaria elimination plan; improvements in malaria diagnostics and surveillance made thanks to recent support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and earthquake recovery funds provided to Haiti in 2012 by the U.S. government.
"We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for this generous grant," said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "Eliminating malaria in Haiti will lessen the burden on Hispaniola's public health systems, freeing up resources to tackle other pressing health issues. Additionally, eliminating malaria will result in increased productivity and economic gains for the people of Hispaniola as well as attract foreign investment and safeguard existing philanthropic investments."