Today, on World Malaria Day, I reaffirm the commitment of the United States to ending malaria. Despite being preventable, malaria is a leading cause of sickness and death across much of sub-Saharan Africa. The disease disproportionately impacts the rural poor and traps families in a vicious cycle of disease and poverty.
The U.S. Government, through the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), has transformed the fight against the disease. Together with partners, such as national malaria-control programs, local partners, donors, faith-based groups, and multilateral organizations, we are bringing effective tools to people where they live.
This year is an exciting time for PMI, and a key moment in the global battle against the disease. President Trump appointed Dr. Ken Staley as the new U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator on April 9, and all of us at USAID look forward to his leadership.
The U.S. Government recently announced plans for a five-country expansion of PMI, which will add new programs in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, and Sierra Leone. This expands PMI's reach to 24 malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa, benefiting as many as 570 million people from the Sahel to Southern Africa. In addition, PMI invests in Burma, Cambodia, and a regional program in the Greater Mekong Subregion, to help those countries tackle the challenge of resistance to antimalarial drugs.
When I was a teacher in Kenya, I contracted malaria and experienced its debilitating effects first-hand. Ending malaria's scourge will have a long-term, transformative impact, and save millions of lives. I have beaten malaria, and so can the world.