Sat

14

Mar

2015

Malaria No More News

Malaria No More NewsTackling malaria in India with Facebook?(TM)s Internet.org25,000 children treated by the Best Fiends!Malaria deaths declineANNUAL BREAKFAST HONORS MALARIA CHAMPIONSMNM Board Member Sees Front Lines of Drug Resistance in AsiaThankful for Turkey, Partners, Interns and...Mother?(TM)s First Fundraiser a Big HitOutbreak Responder: A different game for a different future.Qamp;A with Ray Chambers, Challenge #5: Fuel the FightThis Baby Accepts Credit CardsThe shrinking malaria mapBill Gates: We can eradicate malaria in our lifetimesChallenge #5: Fuel the FightChallenge 4: Data amp; MobileChallenge #4: Data amp; Mobile ?" Ashifi Gogo, CEO of SproxilChallenge 3: Block TransmissionDress as something truly scary this halloweenChallenge #3: Block Transmission - Grey Frandsen, Kite PatchThis mosquito helps save lives from malariaChallenge #2: Complete Cure ?" Roger Waltzman, NovartisChallenge #2: Complete CureDeconstructing malaria with Femi KutiChallenge #1: Find the Parasite - Duncan Blair, AlereChallenge #1: Find the parasiteSolve For M: 5 Key Challenges to Ending MalariaDomenico?(TM)s ?oeCiao" to malariaEating Pizza with Katharine McPheeFrom behind the scenes to the spotlightThe World?(TM)s Deadliest Animal Gets AirtimeYoung Cameroonian comic joins the malaria fight

ntent-Type: text/xml; charset=utf-8 https://www.malarianomore.org/ en Copyright 2009 2009-06-21T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/tackling-malaria-in-india-with-facebooks-internet.org https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/tackling-malaria-in-india-with-facebooks-internet.org

Since our inception, one of the major pillars of Malaria No More's work has been health education in malaria endemic countries. Malaria is a preventable, treatable disease that thrives on misinformation, so one of our most important strategies is to educate at-risk populations on how to protect themselves. Our "NightWatch" education programs can be found across Africa - in the classroom, on television, on the radio, on billboards and we can even reach individuals through SMS. But the one medium that has always proven a challenge in malaria endemic countries has been the one we utilize most often here in the US - the internet.

But today, that changes.

In partnership with Facebook and the Praekelt Foundation, Malaria No More is launching its first endemic country facing educational website in India as part of Facebook's new Internet.org initiative. Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative and dedicated to making affordable internet access available to the two-thirds of the world not yet connected. On top of the infrastructure improvements Facebook is working on, it also offers the Internet.org app, which provides essential internet services for free to subscribers of partnered mobile network operators, such as Reliance in India.

Malaria No More on Internet.org

Malaria No More on Internet.org

"Malaria No More is using every tool at our disposal to end this disease," said Malaria No More CEO Martin Edlund. "Mobile is already a key to health education and data-driven innovation throughout the developing world; Internet.org brings the internet into play in a big way by expanding access for the people most at risk from malaria."

It is in the word "free" that we have the biggest potential for success. The reason Malaria No More has not previously emphasized the internet in malaria endemic countries is not because of lack of technology, it's because of lack of adoption of technology. In Africa, it is estimated that there will be one billion mobile phones by the end of 2015. Today, there are more than 930 million mobile phone subscriptions in India alone. With the mobile explosion in Africa and Asia, mobile web access is most certainly available, but unfortunately it's prohibitively expensive - preventing online adoption from reaching its true potential. Through the Internet.org app, though, not only will important online services be available for free, but critical malaria-related information will be available to new internet users alongside basic internet staples such as weather information, news and Facebook. It's a prime opportunity to educate at-risk populations en masse, and we cannot wait to see the results.

Read the press anouncement from Facebook on Internet.org.

And what better way to increase reach then by starting with India: the world's largest democracy, a country with the second biggest population on the planet, that ranks among the top 10 largest economies? With our educational site launching in a total of seven languages - including English, Hindi and five regional languages - we hope to be able to reach as much of the 89 percent of the Indian population living in areas with malaria prevalence as possible. In 2012, malaria in India accounted for an estimated 19 million new cases, 28,000 deaths, and cost approximately $3.4 billion in lost productivity and treatment costs. This effort is just a start, but our hope is to eventually take this disease, that has a significant impact on the health, well-being, and growth of India, off the map.

The Indian website will serve as a model for future sites as Internet.org expands across Africa and Asia, and will become an essential part of Malaria No More's education strategy in at-risk countries.

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internet.org, Mobile and Malaria, 2015--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/25000-children-treated-by-the-best-fiends https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/25000-children-treated-by-the-best-fiends

In October, Malaria No More announced a new partnership with mobile gaming developers Seriously, and their new hit game Best Fiends. A natural fit for each other thanks to the game's handsome malaria-fighting mosquito Edward, we were amazed and encouraged by the outstanding levels of awareness and education sparked by MNM's integration into the game - including record setting web traffic to MalariaNoMore.org and Edward's online home.

Now that the game has really taken off, the Best Fiends are doing even more than spreading awareness about malaria - they are affecting real lives, and a lot of them! As part of the "Race Against Slime" promotion, five YouTube stars (including PewDiePie) raced to beat the most levels in a week - raising $25,000 that's been donated to MNM on behalf of Seriously and the competitors. Through MNM's Power of One campaign and partnership with Novartis, this donation will secure 25,000 malaria treatments for children in Africa, where 90% of malaria cases occur. That's 25,000 kids out of the hospital and back in school!

We'd like to extend a huge thank you to Seriously and the Race Against Slime competitors (listed below), for their generous contribution to the fight against malaria. We are looking forward to a bright 2015, where we will continue to work together to make malaria the first disease beaten by mobile.

The participants of the Race Against Slime campaign were awarded a total of $50k in cash prizes, half of which was donated to Malaria No More, and half to the charity of their choice.

More about the Best Fiends and Malaria No More:

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Mobile and Malaria, 2015--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/malaria-deaths-decline https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/malaria-deaths-decline

This morning, the World Health Organization released its annual World Malaria Report. The figures show incredible strides made in just more than a decade in overcoming one of the world's oldest, deadliest and costliest diseases.

Among the highlights - between 2000 and 2013, malaria mortality rates fell by:

47% worldwide

54% in Africa

53% in children under 5 worldwide

58% in children under 5 in Africa

In addition, malaria interventions - such as bed nets and medication - helped save the lives of an estimated 4.3 million people between 2001 and 2013.

64 countries are currently projected to reverse the incidence of malaria by next year, and 55 of those countries are also on track to meet the World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria Partnership target of reducing malaria incidence by 75% by 2015.

The report also highlighted the importance of securing additional funding for anti-malaria efforts, with the total funding only coming in at $2.7 billion in 2013. Although this marks a 300% increase since 2005, it's still barely half of the $5.1 billion needed to achieve global targets for malaria control and elimination.

To view the full report, click here.

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Malaria Progress, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/annual-breakfast-honors-malaria-champions https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/annual-breakfast-honors-malaria-champions

This week, we held our annual Champions Breakfast at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where over 90 attendees, including Congressional staff, diplomatic leaders, and members of the global health and development community, came together to celebrate honorees and the progress made in the fight against malaria.

Awards included:

The Malaria Vision Award: Presented to Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy and Ranking Member Senator Lindsey Graham of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs for their leadership in prioritizing resources, helping to save millions of lives and protecting the U.S.

The Malaria Action Award: Presented to the Right Honorable Stephen O'Brien, MP, a Conservative Party member of the UK Parliament and champion for global health programs including DFID's bilateral assistance and UK funding for the Global Fund.

The Private Sector Excellence Award: Presented to Alere for its cutting edge work in rapid diagnostic testing (RDT). While accepting the award, Alere's Vice President Ellen Chiniara announced a new partnership with the Gates Foundation to develop ultrasensitive RDTs.

The event highlighted strong bipartisan leadership and the enormous impact the U.S. and partners have made in this fight. Beyond the humanitarian impact in endemic countries, malaria remains a public health and national security threat for the U.S., as imported cases sicken our brave service members deployed overseas.

The breakfast also featured speaker Heather Higginbottom, Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, who reinforced the government's commitment to bringing an end to malaria. Other speakers included Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director at the National Security Council, who spoke about the President's Malaria Initiative's role in the fight, and Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund and former US Global AIDS Coordinator under President George W. Bush, who highlighted the global successes the malaria community has achieved so far.

Click here to view photos from the event. 

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Advocacy, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/mnm-board-member-sees-front-lines-of-drug-resistance-in-asia https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/mnm-board-member-sees-front-lines-of-drug-resistance-in-asia

As a member of MNM's Board, I receive updates from the team about the greatest achievements and biggest concerns in the malaria fight. After one specific meeting with staff, I became very interested in the emerging drug resistance in the Greater Mekong Subregion, the exact location where resistance to the former go-to drug, chloroquine, built up and then spread to Africa. This resistance is of concern because artemisinin is the main ingredient in our current and front line treatment of malaria. As a result, my wife Courtney and I traveled to Thailand and Cambodia with MNM to witness emerging drug resistance in the region first-hand - and learn what's being done to stop it.

Our first visit was with the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok where we met with representatives who work on malaria, including the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia's Office of Public Health, the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) for the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), as well as members from US Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Science (AFRIMS) and a Health Specialist from the Australian Embassy. This kick off meeting provided an exciting brainstorming session that helped me understand the challenges of combating drug resistance in the region, such as counterfeit dugs, monotherapies, poor drug adherence of antimalarials and washed out roads. We also learned the intricacies of the various strategies for malaria control and elimination, such as mass drug administration versus door-to-door mass screening and treatment methods. Next, we traveled to the Ministry of Health campus, where we met with the CDC and WHO. It was apparent that more coordination between public and private sectors was needed. We also realized the true scope of the problem was much bigger than we had originally thought. It wouldn't be as simple as raising more money for malaria tests and treatments - but thankfully, the health specialists in the region have strategies in place to strengthen health systems and finish the job of eliminating malaria.

 

Chris Combe in Asia

Chris and Courtney hand out bed nets to and listen to malaria community health volunteers near the Thailand and Myanmar border.

To see those strategies in action, we took to the field, with one stop on the Thailand/ Myanmar border region and the other on the Thailand/Cambodia side. These eye-opening opportunities allowed us to meet the individuals fighting malaria on the frontlines, including dedicated staff from PMI and local volunteers. During our time in the field, we also handed out bed nets to those in need and followed a Malaria Inspector, as he tested Burmese families for the disease. We also learned about some of the creative ways malaria is being tracked in migrant workers. Because motorcycles taxis are the primary mode of transportation, USAID trains and equips drivers with malaria prevention tools to distribute to migrant workers as they cross the border.

Overall, this trip left an impression on both Courtney and myself. We now have an even deeper understanding of the scale of the problem and the nuances needed to stop the disease and the spread of drug resistance in the region. Traveling with the President's Malaria Initiative, the CDC, and other USAID workers gave Courtney and me a great perspective on the direct impact the United States has in rural regions half way around the globe. Seeing the challenges of impassable terrain coupled with the local community staff who dedicate their lives to keeping their neighbors safe from malaria was truly inspirational. With advances in technology, diagnostics, and data collection, we know we can stop the spread of malaria and artemisinin drug resistance, but we need the help of dedicated individuals from both the private and public sector - and we need it now. Malaria is preventable and treatable, and with the right tools we're hopeful the Greater Mekong Subregion will be malaria free.

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/thankful-for-turkey-partners-interns-and https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/thankful-for-turkey-partners-interns-and

Feast day is upon us and beyond being thankful for the turkey and all its glorious sides of steaming hot rolls, gravy, stuffing, potatoes and pie, we're also thankful for the things, people and groups that have backed us - and some for as long as eight Thanksgivings! In no particular order, we're thankful for...

1)   The 42% decline in the global malaria mortality rate - saving 3.3 million lives since 2000!

2)   The U.S.'s Government's leadership in the fight against malaria, including that of the President's Malaria Initiative, USAID, CDC and Admiral Tim Ziemer

3)   Major corporate partners Novartis, Alere, Exxon and Kimberly Clark

4)   Mobile partners, including Venmo for raising 70,000 malaria treatments, and gaming partners Global Gaming Initiative for their Outbreak Responder game and Seriously for the Best Fiends game and its anti-malarial mosquito Edward.

5)   Our celebrity ambassadors, including Katharine McPhee, for keeping malaria in the spotlight

6)   Super supporters, like the Combes family

7)   Novartis Employee Engagement winners Roger, Chinwe, Manishha, Inge, Domenico, Martin  and all the participants who helped raise $218k for malaria treatments

8)   Our African teams based in Cameroon, Chad, Kenya and Nigeria

9)   Our dedicated army of interns that support us during our most hectic times of year, including Andy, Bronte, Ella, Yeeji and others.

10)  And YOU. Some of you just happened upon this post, while others have been supporting us since 2006. You've recently helped us reach a major milestone of raising enough to fund three million malaria treatments for children in Zambia. Let's keep up the life-saving work!

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/mothers-first-fundraiser-a-big-hit https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/mothers-first-fundraiser-a-big-hit

Malaria No More's Supporter Spotlight series shines a light on people from around the world who share one thing in common - a commitment to finally bring an end to malaria.

Being a mother of three children, Inge was touched by our Power of One campaign's simplistic message - $1 given = 1 child saved - and decided to start her fundraiser. She learned about the campaign through her employer, Novartis, a company that has been committed to the fight against malaria for more than a decade.

Her boss at Novartis was the initial inspiration to get involved - and was one of her biggest supporters. "She was the first to donate a large amount of money to kick start the fundraiser," said Inge. "And she also reached out to her personal network that resulted in donations adding up to several thousands of dollars." Inge also shared stories with other co-workers who were also fundraising for the malaria fight.

Inge says the Power of One message made her first fundraising effort an easy one. "I just had to reach out to my family, friends and colleagues via email - and the results were amazing!" said Inge.

Inge's campaign was so successful that she kept moving her fundraising goal up! "Two days after launching my fundraiser I had to increase the target," said Inge. "One week before the end of the campaign, I was at 4400 treatments, so I raised the target again. I am proud that together, in the end we could raise more than 5600 treatments."

While this was Inge's first fundraising campaign ever, it doesn't seem like it will be her last. "Personally it has been a very rewarding exercise," said Inge. "I have been very blessed in many aspects and the campaign has given me the opportunity to 'give back' and feel the joy and pride in encouraging others doing the same."

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Power of One, Supporter Spotlight, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/outbreak-responder-a-different-game-for-a-different-future https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/outbreak-responder-a-different-game-for-a-different-future

MNM is always looking for new and interesting ways to bring attention to the malaria fight. That's why we're really excited to partner with Global Gaming Initiative on its latest endeavor, which will benefit Malaria No More's Power of One campaign.

When we started Global Gaming Initiative, (GGI) we wanted to utilize technology for good by creating a fun and easy way for people to make a difference. Our solution - mobile games. The goal being to inspire the developed world to get involved globally and provide the developing word greater access to education.  This year we ourselves received a massive education in the realities of global health issues, specifically malaria. The reality that malaria is a completely treatable disease, which an estimated 627,000 still die from annually, was both beyond unsettling and urgently motivating. We partnered with developers who share our desire to create a future without malaria to create our combative agent, Outbreak Responder, as we know that nothing is possible without health.

Outbreak Responder - using beautiful graphics and strategic challenges puts the player on a mission to cure communities from the spread of malaria. The best part is, being an Outbreak Responder player, you literally become an agent of change as your in-game contributions unlock malaria tests and treatments for African children through Malaria No More's Power of One campaign. We have long admired the work Malaria No More does on the ground and are thrilled to partner with them to help you provide a healthy future for children with malaria. This is what fun and games and saving lives looks like. It's the power of the change in your pocket - so download Outbreak Responder, put your game time to good use and help us create a better future, one child at a time.

Learn more about Outbreak Responder here.

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Mobile and Malaria, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/qa-with-ray-chambers-challenge-5-fuel-the-fight https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/qa-with-ray-chambers-challenge-5-fuel-the-fight

This QA is part of our Solve for M: Five Challenges for Ending Malaria series. Challenge #5 focuses on a crucial component of finally ending malaria - maintaining and growing funding. For more, we spoke to Ray Chambers, co-founder of Malaria No More and United Nations Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and for Malaria.

1. What are some of the changes you anticipate in global financing for health over the next decade?

Funding has increased dramatically for global health since the world got serious about saving millions of children and mothers from preventable causes. The results have been impressive: Since 2000 the number of under-five deaths worldwide has declined from 12.7 million in 1990 to 6.3 million in 2013. But continuing to fund these gains from donor countries is not sustainable, especially if we want to move toward the elimination of malaria. We need to support three existing trends that can shift us to a new funding paradigm.

Endemic countries must increase their domestic health budgets. Domestic financing for malaria increased over the period of 2005 to 2012, from $436 million in 2005 to $522 million in 2012, rising at an estimated rate of 4% per year - a move in the right direction. But most countries still fall short of the Abuja target of dedicating 15% of their domestic budgets to improving health.

We must approach financing of life-saving commodities more creatively. We're seeing early success from pay-for-performance social impact bonds that demonstrate the returns on investing in net distribution in Mozambique. An innovative tax on airline tickets to support work on AIDS, TB and Malaria has produced millions of dollars for AIDS treatment.

The private sector has recognized that healthier communities are better places to do business, and investing in the health of employees in the countries where they operate can help the bottom line as well.

2. How important have the Millennium Development Goals been to galvanizing support for malaria and other global health programs?

As a businessman I was drawn to the MDGs as time-bound, quantifiable targets against which we could measure our success. The inclusion of malaria in Goal 6 of the MDGs was essential to allowing the global health community to rally around the malaria targets. With this support came coordinated plans and, crucially, financing to enact those plans. Similarly with child and maternal health, by quantifying where we were, and where we needed to get, the MDGs provided the outline of a roadmap others could build upon and collectively enact. And with all 193 countries signing on to the MDGs back in 2000, their value has gone well beyond the tangible achievements of lives saved. They've linked all of us in a shared pursuit of something greater than our individual or even national selves. This shared global consciousness will carry the spirit and ambitions of the MDGs well beyond 2015.

3. How do you expect the funding landscape to change at the end of 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals deadline hits?

Relying on outdated models of north-to-south donor contributions will eventually hit a wall, and some would argue that the fatigue has already begun to set in. If we continue to think creatively about how we finance life-saving programs and commodities among a broader community - leveraging previously untapped resources, especially from the private sector - funding for health should continue to grow. Companies including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Unilever and AngloGold Ashanti have demonstrated the leadership role businesses can play in keeping populations healthy. Similarly, the private sector plays an essential role in the research and development of new technologies and vaccines that could replace existing costly interventions. Now is the time to test new models of funding while investing in research that could deliver cheaper, more effective diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines.

4. What would the consequences be if malaria funding were scaled back?

Recent history has already demonstrated what happens when funding for malaria is decreased or held-up. From 2006 t0 2008 net coverage dropped due to delayed funding disbursements, resulting in an upsurge of malaria cases in 2009.  We've successfully covered almost every person in need of a net with a net, and in doing so saved over 3.3 million children since 2000. But as a result of this success, millions of children protected by nets have no immunity to malaria. If their nets aren't replaced every three years, we will see malaria infections and deaths far exceed previous levels. Total funding for malaria control is expected to reach $2.85 billion each year between 2014 and 2016, substantially below the required amount for this period. We have come so close to lifting the burden of malaria off an entire continent. A final push - in political commitment, partner support and funding - will put the end of malaria deaths in our grasp and make elimination a reality.

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5 challenges to end malaria, Advocacy, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/this-baby-accepts-credit-cards https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/this-baby-accepts-credit-cards

Above:  Manishha Patel used inventive and fun memes to rally her friends to donate to Power of One.

Malaria No More's Supporter Spotlight series shines a light on people from around the world who share one thing in common - a commitment to finally bring an end to malaria.

MNM supporter Manishha raised money for our Power of One campaign with the help of her good-hearted loved ones and colleagues at her employer, the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF). Fundraising for the cause came naturally to her given the lessons her parents taught her growing up - to be appreciative of the opportunities she has and to help those less fortunate.

"My parents are from a very rural and poor region of India," says Manishha. "They always taught us to be grateful for the opportunities that were given to us in Canada and to help and care for the less fortunate."

 



Manishha has always felt a strong urge to help those less fortunate. "I have always wanted to help people in underdeveloped countries, and Power of One affected me because of the impact it can have for people in Africa - the idea that just one dollar can save one person's life really resonated with me and I wanted to help them in any way that I could."

In addition to drawing on the wise words of her parents, she drew on the talents of her boyfriend. Together, they came up with eye-catching posters, featuring funny pictures of babies offering words of encouragement. And the kid theme didn't end there - Manishha even inspired her niece and godchildren to donate their piggybank savings.

Manishha's colleagues were a huge help too. They championed her cause to their families, friends, religious organizations, and sports teams, helping her break her past fundraising record of $500! "The sheer amount of support from GNF as a whole was phenomenal," said Manisha. "The encouragement and support I received for the campaign was unbelievable, and helped me eventually recruit more than 330 friends to join Power of One."

Good news is Manishha isn't done yet. "This is the kind of work I have dreamed of doing and that is why I decided to get involved in the fundraiser," said Manishha. "I will continue to promote the cause of Malaria No More and I hope that, in the very near future, malaria will no longer be as devastating a disease as it is now."

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/shrinking-malaria-map-bill-gates https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/shrinking-malaria-map-bill-gates

This video of the shrinking malaria was shared by Bill Gates at the ASTMH conference.

Malaria has been killing for centuries. In 1900, it was taking lives from nearly every country on Earth, but the goal is to wipe this killer disease from the planet within a generation.

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/bill-gates-we-can-eradicate-malaria-in-our-lifetimes https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/bill-gates-we-can-eradicate-malaria-in-our-lifetimes

It was a packed house last night, as the best and brightest in the public health world poured into a New Orleans conference hall to hear one of the world's most prolific philanthropists share his vision for the future of global health.

As Bill Gates joked, he was eager to finally have a captive audience for his thoughts on some of the world's most pervasive diseases, as he typically bores dinner party guests with his excitement over discussing topics such as dengue fever, polio and malaria.

During his keynote speech at the Association of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Gates focused his remarks on Ebola and malaria. He spoke to the lessons the global health community can take from the Ebola crisis, and how it can serve to educate and strengthen our response to other public health issues. He spent the bulk of his speech talking about malaria, and urging the gathered group of the world's premier scientists and doctors to embrace the idea of malaria eradication in our lifetimes. He also announced that the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation will be increasing its already substantial financial commitment to fighting malaria by 30 percent.

Gates laid out the elements of a new strategy to achieve the ambitious goal of eradication, including fostering innovation in the surveillance and research development arenas, as well as continued investment in malaria control efforts as we concurrently set our longer term vision on eradication.

You can read more on the new plan here. It is not an easy task, but with a shared vision and energy in the global health community, it is possible. His closing statement, which drew a standing ovation, echoed the sentiment that malaria eradication is within our grasp: "I'm optimistic we'll get there faster than the skeptics think."

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malaria elimination, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-5-fuel-the-fight https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-5-fuel-the-fight

To win the malaria fight, we need to rethink how we pay for it

Malaria No More was founded by two prominent business leaders, Ray Chambers and Peter Chernin, who saw combating malaria as a unique opportunity to save lives and improve livelihoods on a global scale. As Chernin put it, ending malaria represents "the best humanitarian investment in the world today."

It's easy to see why. Malaria is a devastating disease and one of the top killers of children under the age of five and pregnant women worldwide. It's also a huge drain on economies, accounting for approximately $12 billion in lost economic productivity in Africa each year, due to the burden it places on health systems and the toll of work absenteeism and missed school days.

By contrast, the existing tools are simple and scalable - a mosquito net can protect a mother and child for three years for around $5; a 50 cent rapid diagnostic test and $1 treatment can save a child's life - and, as this series highlights, revolutionary new technologies are just around the corner.

When Malaria No More was founded in 2006, global spending on malaria was only a few hundred million dollars a year, and approximately a million people were dying from mosquito bites annually.

Through a massive global effort - including $3 billion in annual funding, led by the U.S. and U.K. governments, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the World Bank, the private sector and philanthropists - the rate of malaria deaths in Africa has been cut in half in under a decade. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.3 million lives have been saved since the year 2000 from malaria alone.

 

Malaria funding now vs next

Planning for a Rainy Day

The danger with malaria - the thing that keeps us malaria fighters up at night - is that if you lose focus, even for a single rainy season, the disease can come roaring back with devastating consequences.

There have been 75 documented instances of malaria resurgence from the 1930s to the year 2000, and nearly all of them were associated with the weakening of malaria control efforts. If we stopped investing in malaria control today, it would cause a massive humanitarian crisis, claiming millions of lives, and undo the hard-fought gains we've made in the past decade.

As the burden of malaria continues to be reduced, we need to shift from catalytic "scale up" funding models to sustainable, long-term approaches that will enable us to end the disease. That means diversifying the sources of funding so that the continued commitment of international donors is buoyed by growing domestic and regional investments, as well as innovative financing approaches. It also means using better data to find efficiencies that will stretch and strengthen the impact of malaria spending at the country level.

Put Your Money Where Your Malaria Is

We often say that malaria is both a cause and a consequence of poverty. But the reverse is also true: malaria control is equally a cause and consequence of economic growth. It's not just geography that caused malaria to be eliminated first in the United States in 1951 and most of Europe by 1975 - it was equally the result of economic growth, development and increased spending on health and infrastructure.

The current slate of countries moving toward malaria elimination - mostly in Asia and South America - are already covering the bulk of the expense themselves: almost 80 percent of interventions are self-financed, according to a recent analysis by UCSF's Global Health Group and Cambridge Economic Policy Associates. 

 

Malaria funding vs deaths

In Africa, however, most countries still fall short of the self-declared "Abuja target" of dedicating 15% of domestic budgets to improving health. As "Africa Rising" moves from rhetoric to reality and economies on the continent continue to grow, Africa has the wherewithal to finance an increasing share of its malaria elimination ambitions. And it has powerful financial incentive to ensure the work continues - a recent study by Accenture estimated the present-day economic value (i.e. profit) of continued investment in malaria control in Africa at more than $322 billion between now and 2035, due to the tremendous health and productivity gains that would result.

Endemic countries also have the opportunity to stretch their budgets by working smarter. To the extent that countries can draw on good timely data to inform program decisions, they can save money by targeting the appropriate mix of interventions by region and setting. Zambia and Zimbabwe, for instance, have saved millions of dollars by using malaria risk-mapping to optimize their net and insecticide spraying programs.

Particularly as countries reduce their malaria burden, one-size-fits-all, national-scale approaches may no longer apply. Namibia, a country moving toward elimination, has used malaria and mobility data to develop a more sophisticated, spatially targeted malaria program.

The Future of Funding

Regional financing mechanisms are emerging for countries, companies, and philanthropists to invest in malaria control and elimination in their own backyards. Asia-Pacific has set the ambitious goals of eliminating drug-resistant malaria by 2020, and all malaria by 2030. To help finance the efforts, the Asian Development Bank and the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance this year set up a regional trust fund to solve this pressing regional challenge.

Mechanisms for nontraditional donors to play a part in eliminating the disease are growing as well. In Indonesia, a small group of high net worth individuals have pledged to co-invest alongside the government and Global Fund in health priorities, while in the Philippines and Ghana companies with large local operations - the Pilipinas Shell Foundation and AngloGold Ashanti - have managed Global Fund malaria grants working hand-in-hand with government agencies.

Innovative financing efforts, including concepts such as development impact bonds, also have the potential to contribute. Creators of The Mozambique Malaria Performance bond aim to establish a sustainable new funding source that can also improve the efficiency of malaria programs through a pay-for-performance model.

It's an attractive concept: private investors front the costs of malaria control interventions to be repaid by a group of government and private-sector partners who reap the rewards of successful malaria control, including healthy citizens, employees and consumers. But we have yet to see investors step up to participate in such an instrument vehicle. If these models take root, malaria could evolve from being "the best humanitarian investment" to an actual investment opportunity--one that pays a dividend to those who contribute.

Achieving the historic goal of malaria eradication requires endurance. To sustain and extend the gains of the past decade, the global community must commit to providing predictable, sustainable, long-term support.

Our success in fighting malaria over the past decade has been built upon a solid foundation of funding, and the continued support of the U.S., U.K. and Australian governments; as well as institutions such as the Global Fund and the World Bank, will be essential to finishing the job. But we also need endemic countries and regions to commit to shouldering an increasing share of the costs as we move toward malaria elimination.

In the end, it will not be one sector or government that will finally eradicate malaria. It will be a global success--one we should all be proud to have contributed to.

This is one of five topics we're covering in our new series, Solve for M: 5 Key Challenges to Ending Malaria, in partnership with Devex and the Gates Foundation. You can find others here:

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5 challenges to end malaria, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-4-data-mobile https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-4-data-mobile

How the mobile revolution in Africa is transforming global health

When I first moved to West Africa, back in 2009, you could travel to the most remote, rural villages - places without power, running water, or any other modern conveniences - and you would invariably find Coca-Cola. Somehow the familiar red-and-white brand had solved the distribution and marketing challenges of reaching these ends-of-the-earth consumers.

In those same remote villages, you can also find some of Africa's highest-tech companies - mobile providers like MTN, Tigo, Airtel, Vodacom and Safaricom. Africa has leapfrogged the power line and the PC and gone directly to mobile phones. By the end of 2015, there will be an estimated 1 billion mobile phone accounts in Africa - one for nearly every man, woman and child on the continent.

First Disease Beaten By Mobile

In our first challenge ("Find the Parasite"), we talked about the importance of rapid diagnostics to locate the malaria parasite in people. What is a diagnostic test result but a plus or a minus, a one or a zero? It's a bit of data. But in many malaria-endemic countries, that data used to just sit in stacks of paper to be collected every so often by health authorities. When you combine this data with rapid reporting via mobile phones, you have the makings of a revolution in global health.

Of all the tools in the malaria fight (including the obvious ones such as nets, testing, treatment and spraying) mobile phones may be the ones that tip the balance toward ending this disease. That's why at Malaria No More we've been bold in proclaiming that malaria can be the first disease beaten by mobile.

A Swiss-Army Knife for Malaria

Sounds ambitious, but when you look at the problems we have to solve - from case detection and response, to stock management, and health education - mobile is at the center of the solutions time and again. It's the Swiss Army knife of the malaria fight, helping to solve and accelerate a wide variety of other solutions. Here are a few examples of how mobile and data are already transforming the malaria fight.

The Novartis-led SMS for Life program has demonstrated the potential of mobile to address stock outs and ensure that people have malaria drugs when and where they need them. The pilot program focused on three districts in Tanzania. When it started, 26% of public health facilities were completely stocked out of malaria drugs at any given time. That means that parents had a one-in-four chance of showing up at a clinic with a sick child only to find that they didn't have a dollar's worth of life-saving treatment on hand.

To address the problem, under the umbrella of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, Novartis and its public and private partners set up a simple, SMS reporting system that enabled health workers and pharmacists at public health facilities to record and report their stock levels on a weekly basis. This made it possible to anticipate shortages and distribute malaria drug supply more efficiently. Six months later, less than 1% of the facilities were stocked out of malaria drugs: a 97% reduction in stock outs through better and faster information flows. SMS for Life has now been expanded to several other African countries including Ghana, Kenya and Cameroon.

 

Mobile swiss army knife for malaria

In a similar fashion, mobile phones may be the key to solving the challenge of counterfeit and stolen malaria treatments. Nigeria is the epicenter of the malaria challenge, accounting for nearly a quarter of the world's malaria burden. As the market for antimalarial treatments has grown, so too has the attraction for counterfeiters. Recent estimates suggest that nearly 40% of all antimalarials on the market are counterfeit.

The challenge is compounded by the fact that most Nigerians don't get their treatments from public health facilities. Eighty percent of people go to the private sector for treatment. And this isn't your corner Walgreens we're talking about. In Nigeria, it's not uncommon to see malaria drugs sold alongside open-air butcher stands and car parts in public markets.

The solution to this problem? You guessed it - mobile. Working with companies such as Sproxil, PharmaSecure and mPedigree, the Nigerian government now requires that every antimalarial drug (and antibiotic) carry a label that consumers can scratch off like a lottery ticket and text in for free to confirm their drug is authentic and safe. Read more about Sproxil's efforts to combat counterfeiters here.

This scalable use of the technology is revolutionizing the fight against counterfeits, and even helping authorities to track down contraband drugs. Malaria No More is working with a group of partners to go a step further: to explore how this data - a real-time sample of antimalarial consumption - can be used to draw fresh insights that can inform public health decision-making to save even more lives.

The Big Benefits of Data

A study in Kenya presents another compelling example of leveraging non-health data to fight malaria.

Caroline Buckee of the Harvard School of Public Health worked with Kenya's largest mobile operator to analyze anonymized mobile phone usage records from 15 million consumers to track human migration patterns. Researchers then combined this migration map with regional malaria incidence data to identify how malaria travels around the country via human carriers.

Unsurprisingly, most of the malaria emanated from the high-transmission areas along Lake Victoria on Kenya's western border.  But the data also spotlighted unusually high migration from the Lake Zone region about 50 miles inland to the western highlands region.

A few clicks of a Google map reveal that the western highlands are host to massive and bustling tea plantations that serve as a kind of bus depot for malaria transmission. Infected workers came from the Lake Zone to the highlands, where mosquitoes picked up the parasite and infected fellow plantation workers, who in turn transported the parasite back to their home communities farther inland.

These data-driven insights can help direct resources and interventions to make the malaria fight more effective. For example, eliminating malaria in the Lake Zone might cut off the source of infections in the highlands - even if you didn't run a large-scale elimination program in the highlands themselves.

Mobile Aids Elimination

If anything, harnessing the power of mobile and data becomes more important as countries move toward malaria elimination. As the scale of the problem shrinks, the need for timely and precise surveillance data only grows. Vital elements such as real-time reporting of cases and accurate intervention mapping are now possible thanks to web, mapping, mobile and data analytics tools.

As you move toward the end game of elimination, countries must be able to track and respond to every case immediately to prevent it from spreading. They set up a sort of SWAT-team approach (painful pun intended): rapid-response systems in which health workers immediately report cases and teams show up to test and treat people in a perimeter around the infection to contain the spread of the parasite.

Even more so than Coca-Cola, that gives us something to smile about.

This is one of five topics we're covering in our new series, Solve for M: 5 Key Challenges to Ending Malaria, in partnership with Devex and the Gates Foundation. You can find others here:

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5 challenges to end malaria, Mobile and Malaria, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-4-data-mobile-ashifi-gogo-ceo-of-sproxil https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-4-data-mobile-ashifi-gogo-ceo-of-sproxil

This QA is part of our Solve for M: Five Challenges for Ending Malaria series. Challenge 4 (link to post) looks at ways technology and data can be used to fight malaria. Ashifi Gogo is the head of Sproxil, a company that uses mobile phone technology to combat dangerous counterfeit malaria medication.

1) Many people aren't aware of the major threat counterfeit drugs pose, can you briefly describe the problem and how mobile authentication, such as Sproxil, helps fight it?

Drug counterfeiting, while particularly prevalent in emerging markets, is a global disease that threatens the safety and well-being of all citizens. 700,000 people die every year from fake anti-malarial and tuberculosis drugs alone: it is the equivalent of the entire population of Boston disappearing in a single year.

By leveraging the increasing popularity of mobile phones, we developed a simple, but powerful and secure SMS system: Mobile Product Authentication(TM) (MPA(TM)). We partner directly with manufacturers and distributors to append security labels with a scratch-off panel on each product. At point of sale, a consumer will scratch off the panel to reveal a unique, single use code that they SMS to our phone number for free. The consumer instantly receives a response back confirming that the product is genuine or warning that it is suspicious. Our 24/7 help desk, which supports major local languages, is available for reports of counterfeiting activity and for questions relating to the product or solution.

To further reduce access barriers, we have multiple channels for verification: mobile apps (available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry 7), web apps and our help desk.

2) You're working to integrate Sproxil into more countries. Where do you provide service currently, and where do you plan to expand?

We have operations in Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and the U.S. and can execute projects on six major continents. In an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters, we do not disclose our plans for expansion.

3) Beyond preventing counterfeits, do you see other ways to leverage this data to improve health?

Our technology was developed to be flexible and scalable. By creating direct communication channels between our clients and their patients, MPA can help foster healthier lifestyles. Our technology can support medical adherence programs, message patients with expiration reminders and health and wellness information or connect them with health care providers or other experts and even send special coupons or recommendations for other wellness products.  The opportunities for improving health by connecting patients with the appropriate resources make the possibilities limitless.

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5 challenges to end malaria, Mobile and Malaria, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-3-block-transmission https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-3-block-transmission

The secret to ending malaria could be protecting mosquitoes from humans

As villains go, the mosquito is well cast. The tiny pest is unique in nature in two important respects. First, it has no redeeming value to the broader ecosystem (the name of the particular breed that transmits malaria, "Anopheles," actually means "useless" in Greek); and second, the mosquito is by far the deadliest creature on the planet to human beings, claiming 725,000 lives a year--principally to malaria, but also to diseases including dengue fever and West Nile virus.

Even Disney, the company that made ants and lobsters lovable, has it in for the mosquito. In a now-famous 1943 animated short titled "the Winged Scourge," a Disney narrator brands mosquitoes "public enemy number one" for transmitting malaria, and cheers as the Seven Dwarves gleefully pump insecticide and stomp the bug.

Our first two columns explored how finding the parasite(link) and completely curing(link) infected people are two of the keys to ending this disease. The missing piece is to block transmission and stop the endless shuttling of the parasite back and forth between man and mosquito.

You see, for malaria, the transit between mosquito and man isn't just a joy ride--it's an essential step in reproduction. By blocking transmission you isolate the mosquito and interrupt that process. In mosquitoes, the parasites die quickly due to their host's short life spans; and the ones in humans stay contained until you can eliminate them with medication.

The classic approach to blocking transmission is to protect people from mosquito bites using bed nets or insecticide sprays. And make no mistake, these tools have been extraordinarily effective: a major factor in saving 3.3 million lives from the disease since 2000.

Rethinking the Problem

But to break the back of transmission, we have to rethink the problem. We must move beyond vilifying the mosquito--and the key may be protecting mosquitoes from humans.

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Consider that mosquitoes only carry the malaria parasite for up to 30 days--a mosquito's maximum lifespan--while humans can carry the parasite for decades if left untreated. And where mosquitoes can only travel a mile or two on their tiny wings, humans circle the globe transporting the parasite like carry-on luggage. So if we're looking for someone to blame for malaria transmission, we must start by taking a hard look in the mirror.

The surest way to avoid getting malaria from mosquitoes is to stop giving it to them. That's why a new generation of treatments that completely eliminate the malaria parasite from the human body will be so important (for more, read Challenge 2: Complete Cure). But it is only one of the novel approaches that will make it possible to stop transmission.

 



Next Generation Protection

Soon, the tried-and-true bed net may be joined by new vector-control technologies that use radar-jamming molecules to disguise humans from mosquitoes. That's the goal of a technology called Kite Patch, which took the crowd-funding site Indiegogo by storm. Worn on your clothes, this small sticker is a spatial repellent that blocks a mosquito's ability to register carbon dioxide. In effect, it acts like Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility, making people virtually undetectable to mosquitoes. (Read more about the Kite Patch technology and what it could mean for malaria.)

This past summer, the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline registered for regulatory review of the first partially effective malaria vaccine--called RTS,S--and hopes for a WHO seal of approval as early as 2015. In clinical trials, the vaccine reduced the number of malaria episodes by a quarter in infants immunized and cut in half malaria cases in older children (toddlers) - low by vaccine standards, but unprecedented in terms of malaria.

But even as we celebrate this milestone - the first vaccine against a parasite - the focus of research is moving beyond only protecting individual people against malaria symptoms (as RTS,S does) to blocking transmission.

New vaccine approaches target two "choke points" when parasites are at their fewest in number during their complex life cycle: the transitions from mosquito to man, and from man to mosquito. These potential vaccines could effectively hold the line against onward transmission of the parasite, stopping malaria dead in its tracks.

Despite the PR campaign against mosquitoes, the goal of malaria control has never been to eradicate the insect, but only to control it as a way to get at our true adversary: the parasite. Little did we suspect that the key to eradicating malaria around the globe could involve making the mosquito an asset in the malaria fight.

This is one of five topics we're covering in our new series, Solve for M: 5 Key Challenges to Ending Malaria, in partnership with Devex and the Gates Foundation. You can find others here:

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5 challenges to end malaria, Mosquito Nets, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/dress-as-something-truly-scary-this-halloween https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/dress-as-something-truly-scary-this-halloween

2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-3-block-transmission-grey-frandsen-kite-patch https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-3-block-transmission-grey-frandsen-kite-patch

This QA is part of our Solve for M: Five Challenges for Ending Malaria series. Challenge 3 addresses new technologies and approaches that are in development to block the transmission of the malaria parasite between humans and mosquitoes. To learn more about one such innovation, we spoke with Grey Frandsen from Kite Patch, a sticker that protects humans from mosquitoes by disrupting the insect's ability to detect humans.

 

1. In our eco-conscious age, a lot of people are wary of putting chemicals on their skin to repel mosquitoes. But mosquito bites are an annoying problem in the U.S., and a deadly one in parts of the world such as Africa and Asia where the pests carry life-threatening diseases, including malaria and dengue fever. Can you tell us how Kite Patch works to protect from mosquitoes without using the traditional skin contact of insect repellents?

Kite Patch is a small, beautifully-designed little "sticker" that creates something akin to an invisibility cloak, or as some suggest, a defense shield, around our bodies with spatial compounds emitted from the materials on the sticker. This product form is being designed to emit a certain level of those spatial compounds over a period of time so that the compounds hover and swirl around the body with movement and wind, and travel away from our bodies in varying distances to intercept mosquitoes as they track toward us. Once mosquitoes come into contact with these compounds, they lose the ability to detect carbon dioxide and sense skin odors - the two primary mechanisms by which they track us.

We've designed Kite's brand to capture the spirit of freedom and joy - something we believe will be the result of new technologies and products, such as Kite Patch, that will lift both the burden of disease and the burden of the fear of disease.

 

2. Kite Patch coming to fruition was a collaborative effort involving several different groups pitching in on funding. Can you tell us about the process of getting this innovation from the idea to the production stage, and where you're at now?

Kite Patch absolutely is a story about collaboration. It's also the result of a new model developed by ieCrowd to transform innovative discoveries into solutions to global challenges. This model brought together the innovative discovery, the capital, the development partners and experts, the team, and the range of stakeholders that now make up the large, global Kite campaign.

People may know the Kite Patch from our Indiegogo campaign. Last year we launched a crowdfunding effort to raise awareness and support for a specific field test of some of our Kite Patch prototypes. We wanted to expand the number of people involved in our development process and inspire people to play a role in getting a new technology to market.

The result was amazing. The campaign went viral and Indiegogo named it one of the top five campaigns ever. We enjoyed support from around the world. Over 500 publications ran original stories about our campaign, the technology, our process for commercializing this technology, and how we branded and marketed the campaign and the product itself.

As for the product itself, Kite technology stems from scientific findings initially discovered at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) with assistance from The Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ieCrowd exclusively licensed the technology from UCR, and has, since then, furthered the science into a range of new technologies, in order to advance disruptive products such as Kite Patch. Kite products - ranging from new mosquito repellents to spatial attractants - feature spatial and non-spatial active ingredients.

The next major step is to get Kite Patch to the field, to markets, and into the hands of people who need it the most. To do so, we'll continue to build partnerships around the world with those who share our passion for eliminating this horrible disease.

 

3. Some readers may think a sticker is a novelty item, but you see Kite Patch having major implications on the field of public health. Can you tell us how far-reaching you hope Kite Patch will be?

We want to be humble about the role Kite technology and products can play, but we do know this: while our mock-ups make it look cool and pretty (and don't those kids in the below Kite Patch video look cute? Those are mine!), the Kite technology platform is being developed to support what we believe can be one of the most powerful weapons platform in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases. We have a world-class team working 24/7 to build a powerful platform of actives that can ideally be deployed around the world in a range of applications - all of which will have minimal impact on our health and the health of our environment.

 

WATCH: Kite Patch in Action

 

Specifically, we're working on repellents and attractants that can be deployed in any number of product forms that will play important roles in public health and disease intervention efforts globally. We pay attention to every detail and we're designing each of our products with history and current technologies and needs in mind. Most importantly, we have opened our development process to people around the world and continue to build our technology and products with significant inputs and feedback from the Kite crowd.

Our technical foundation is strong, and ieCrowd's system for deploying disruptive new solutions like Kite Patch is ready for action. We're excited about the prospects of the Kite platform, and with the help of the crowd, amazing partners, and the world's best team, we have no doubt that it will be among the leading tools to fight against malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

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5 challenges to end malaria, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/best-fiends-malaria-no-more https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/best-fiends-malaria-no-more

While most of the world thinks of mosquitoes as blood sucking, disease-spreading pests, there's a new guy in town who's on a mission to redeem the rep of his fellow mosquitoes.  Meet Edward, the handsome, malaria-fighting skeeter who happens to be one of the stars of Seriously's new mobile game, Best Fiends

The Best Fiends are a pack of fun-loving creatures who spend their time fighting slugs to protect the citizens of Minutia.  But Edward has his own side gig - educating the world about malaria and helping Malaria No More to beat back this awful mosquito-borne disease to protect humans!  Getting by on a diet of coconut water instead of blood, Edward changed his ways, and has developed a whole arsenal of tools to help prevent and treat the spread of this disease.

Want to help Edward end malaria?  Visit our Edward page for a whole list of ways you can support the malaria fight, and make sure to download the game on your iPhone or iPad!

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Mobile and Malaria, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-2-complete-cure-roger-waltzman-novartis https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-2-complete-cure-roger-waltzman-novartis

This QA is part of our Solve for M: Five Challenges for Ending Malaria series. Challenge #2 focuses on the development of a single-dose cure for malaria, so we sat down with Dr. Roger Waltzman. Waltzman works for the Malaria Initiative at Novartis, the maker of one of the top malaria treatments on the market.

Q: Novartis is a pioneer in the research and development of malaria treatments. What is the quick history of innovations Novartis has been a part of?

A: Novartis is in the fight against malaria for the long haul. Together with Chinese partners, Novartis developed the first artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), today's gold standard in malaria treatment, and launched the first child-friendly, dispersible formulation developed jointly with Medicines for Malaria Venture. More recently, we launched another new formulation which reduces the pill burden for adults; this helps to ensure patients follow through with their full treatment course. Today, Novartis partners with the best institutions and intensifies its research efforts to develop new compounds against malaria to eventually eliminate the disease. With two compounds in Phase 2 clinical development and one drug target in pre-clinical research, Novartis scientists are building one of the most promising malaria pipelines in the industry.

Q: What kind of treatments will it take to eliminate malaria?

A: A two-pronged approach is required to eliminate malaria. First, new treatments must be developed that attack the malaria parasites in novel ways in case resistance against current treatments spreads. These treatments will also need to provide a "complete cure". Second, within malaria-endemic countries, a large proportion of people with malaria do not show malaria symptoms and therefore do not seek treatment for their infection. They constitute a reservoir of malaria parasites that can be transmitted to other, more vulnerable populations, therefore targeting and treating these individuals is central to achieving the goal of malaria elimination.

Q: What is a "complete cure" for malaria? How is it different from what we have today?

A: "Complete cure" implies that the treatment not only targets the parasites in the blood in their asexual stage, which is the stage when symptoms of malaria appear, but also in their sexual stage (gametocytes). Gametocytes can be harbored in the human without provoking any symptoms, and transported upon a mosquito bite, infecting other humans. A complete cure would enable a patient to be cleared from all malaria parasites. It would also stop transmission to other humans. Current treatments do not necessarily offer the potential for a complete cure.

Q: Why is a single-dose treatment important and how do you see it affecting malaria prevalence globally?

A: Developing a new combination, similar to today's three-day ACT treatment, which is powerful enough to treat malaria in one single dose, would enable the patient to take the entire treatment at once, virtually eliminating the risk of insufficient treatment. Indeed, with current treatments patients sometimes save tablets for other family members or friends or in case they are infected by malaria again, not realizing they may be inadequately treated. Also, parasites can become resistant to treatments when dosing is inadequate. A single-dose treatment has the potential to ensure complete and effective treatment for patients. In addition, depending upon its efficacy and safety, the treatment could be given to people who show no symptoms but harbor malaria parasites in their blood, and can therefore transmit malaria. Ultimately, treatment of asymptomatic people could help eliminate the disease in broad population groups, potentially leading to malaria eradication.

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Malaria Treatments, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-2-complete-cure https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/challenge-2-complete-cure

Inventing a Wonder Drug to Win the Malaria Fight

The story of malaria control is the story of the promise - and peril - of wonder drugs. With hundreds of millions of people infected with malaria around the globe every year, effective treatment may be the difference between ending the disease and humanitarian disaster.

Quinine, the first antimalarial, was discovered in the bark of the cinchona tree in the foothills of the Andes Mountains back in the 1600s. But it was hard to produce and administer, and there still was no reliable global supply by World War I.

Finding a cheap, reliable alternative to quinine that could be mass-produced became a military imperative during World War II. America suffered humiliating defeats "not because the ammunition was gone," The New York Times reported, "but because the quinine tablets gave out."

However, the synthetic drugs that emerged from that furious RD effort - most notably chloroquine - were little match for the fast-evolving parasite, which developed resistance in under a decade.

Progress Threatened

Our current front-line treatments for malaria, called artemisinin-based combination therapies (or ACTs for short), underscore the arms race between science and parasite. ACTs have been wildly successful in saving lives - a true wonder drug by any definition - but their effectiveness may also be cut short by resistance.

First touted for its curative powers in an ancient Chinese medical book dating back to 168 BC, artemisinin was finally brought to scale globally by Swiss healthcare company Novartis, which received WHO international approval for its drug in 1999. Global funders threw their weight behind ACTs five years later, and today more than 280 million ACT treatments are distributed every year in Africa alone.

But resistance is once again threatening to rob us of our best tool in the malaria fight. Just as chloroquine resistance emerged along the Thai-Cambodia border back in the 1960s, first signs of artemisinin resistance have now been documented in the region. If it follows the same pattern as past resistance - emerging across Asia, in India, making the leap to Africa - it could potentially cost millions of lives.

History has shown that containment isn't an option: Only by eliminating malaria in Asia-Pacific can we staunch the spread of resistance. So the Greater Mekong subregion will be ground zero for a renewed global eradication effort.

In Search of a Solution

The race is already on to develop the next generation of wonder drugs--this time tailor-made for eradication. Such a drug would have four key features.

 



First, it would be a single-dose treatment. The pharma industry talks about the "pill burden" - the total number of pills someone has to take to complete a full course of treatment. The more pills, over more days, the greater the chance that a patient will stop midway and fail to be fully cured.

Malaria treatment currently requires between three and 14 days of treatment, depending on the strain of the parasite. Getting people to take all their pills is complicated by the fact that the drugs are so fast-acting and effective that malaria symptoms may subside after the first or second day, leading people to think they've been treated, when in fact trace amounts of the parasite may still be hanging around in their bodies waiting to mount another attack. A single dose treatment would ensure that everyone who is treated is parasite-free.

The second feature of a new wonder drug is that it will be a "complete cure." Malaria is so challenging in part because the parasite plays hide and seek in the human body: traveling in the bloodstream, lodging in the liver, the brain - even bone marrow, as a recent study highlighted.

Before you can hope to eliminate malaria in a community of people, you must be able to effectively eliminate it in a single person. A complete cure treatment would wipe out the parasite at every stage of its lifecycle, ensuring zero risk of passing the parasite along to others.

The third feature is what we call a prophylactic effect. Essentially, you want a drug that will remain in the body for a period of time to prevent a person from developing another case of malaria if bitten again by an infected mosquito.

And finally, the new treatment would have a high barrier to resistance, so even as you scale up use it's able to maintain its effectiveness. This means developing an arsenal of molecules that attack the parasite in novel ways, and then using drugs in combination to stave off resistance. New malaria drugs are a great investment, but they're expensive to develop, so we must ensure they last.

In the Pipeline

The good news is we're well on our way to making a new slate of wonder drugs (or "one-der" drugs) a reality. Supported by a product development partnership called Medicines for Malaria Venture out of Geneva, the malaria community and pharma industry leaders including Novartis, Sanofi, and GlaxoSmithKline have started clinical trials for treatments that will make ending malaria a reality.

As one example, Novartis has fast-tracked its first non-artemisinin based single-dose drug candidate, called KAE609, and recently published results showing that it was able to clear malaria parasites in adults in 12 hours on average. Read more about the quest for a malaria wonder drug here.

This is one of five topics we're covering in our new series, Solve for M: 5 Key Challenges to Ending Malaria, in partnership with Devex and the Gates Foundation. You can find others here:

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Malaria Treatments, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/femi-kuti-answers-questions-malaria https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/femi-kuti-answers-questions-malaria

Femi Anikulapo Kuti has been able to stand tall as an icon in the music industry without being overshadowed by the colossal image of his legendary father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Over the years he has blended jazz and funk with afrobeat to create a cocktail of unique indelible sounds of afrobeat, and this has earned him four nominations for the prestigious Grammy Awards.

Today Femi Kuti joins Malaria No More to have a Twitter conversation on malaria, music and the Nigerian society. It promises to be an enthralling conversation as Femi is vocal in his opinions. To join this conversation, follow the Malaria No More Twitter account in Nigeria: @MalariaNoMoreN1 and tweet your questions to Femi Kuti as from 11AM - 12PM ET using the hashtag #AskFemiKuti. Femi Kuti is currently one of the ambassadors for the Malaria No More campaign in Nigeria.

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/5-challenges-to-end-malaria-spotlight-on-alere https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/5-challenges-to-end-malaria-spotlight-on-alere

This QA is part of our Solve for M: Five Challenges for Ending Malaria series. Challenge #1 focuses on finding the parasite, so we sat down with Duncan Blair, PhD. Blair is the Director of Public Health Initiatives at Alere, the maker of one of the top malaria diagnostic tools on the market.

 

Q: Why are malaria RDTs a focus for your business?

With Alere being the global leader in rapid diagnostic tests for communicable diseases it would be almost impossible for us not to be involved in the malaria fight. Approximately half of the world's population live in malaria-endemic areas, and consequently, are at risk of infection. With over 200 million infections and over 600,000 deaths a year, the risk to individuals and the burden on health care systems are enormous. To treat malaria appropriately and, just as importantly, to know when not to treat for malaria, requires accurate diagnosis. For decades, the only option for malaria diagnosis was microscopy, but microscopy is extremely challenging to implement with quality due to significant needs for complex equipment, electricity, water, well-trained and well-remunerated staff and many other reasons. The advent of the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) for malaria greatly improved our ability to diagnose malaria simply and effectively. RDTs are high quality, simple and quick tests that can be performed with just a few drops of finger-stick blood at the point of care and without any ancillary equipment. The benefits that the introduction of high-quality and properly deployed malaria RDTs have brought to individuals, to health care systems and to entire communities, is immeasurable.

Q: What are some of the new testing developments you're working on?

We are always looking at ways to improve products or to fill a missing diagnostic need with a view of improving patient and health system outcomes. I think that we find ourselves at a time when malaria elimination is within reach and many of the tools needed to achieve that goal already exist, but not quite all of them. One of the missing pieces of the puzzle is a simple, affordable test capable of detecting the malarial parasites in asymptomatic patients. No such test exists today, but it will be critical for elimination, as we will need to find and treat patients who have no fever and no visible symptoms, but who do have circulating parasites and are therefore acting as a reservoir for future reinfection of the community. Alere is actively looking at developing just such a test.

Q: What are the key challenges you must solve to make this next-generation test a reality?

What we are talking about here is developing a test whose performance is many times better than the best tests currently available, which still meets our exacting quality standards and which can be reliably and sustainably manufactured, delivered and effectively deployed at accessible prices. We're optimistic we can deliver that, given the great range of technologies at our disposal within Alere and the fantastic teams of dedicated and innovative people we have in RD and manufacturing. So there may be challenges ahead, but we are very confident that we can rise to meet those challenges.

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5 challenges to end malaria, Alere, Malaria Tests, Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/5-challenges-to-end-malaria-find-the-parasite https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/5-challenges-to-end-malaria-find-the-parasite

You can't beat an opponent you can't see

Malaria thrives on misinformation. It always has. Even the word malaria is a misnomer. It's Italian for "bad air," because the Romans attributed the seasonal sickness (that killed at least four Popes, and probably the poet Dante) to noxious fumes coming off the swamps. It wasn't until 1897 that Dr. Ronald Ross confirmed the mosquito as the vector that spreads the disease.

And misinformation is one of the big reasons malaria continues to kill a child at the rate of one every sixty seconds. Solving the information challenge is going to be key if we're going to end this disease, and no piece of information is more vital than knowing who is carrying the parasite and who isn't.

THE HIDDEN MALARIA CHALLENGE

While there are more than 200 million malaria cases every year - that is, people who are getting sick from the disease - it is estimated that there are five times as many people carrying the parasite in their bodies at any given moment - a ticking time bomb of illness and infection.

That amounts to more than one billion people - one out of every seven people on the planet - who are potentially infected with the malaria parasite, jeopardizing their health, hampering their productivity and making them a source of infection for their families and communities. And, most of them have no idea they're carrying the potentially deadly disease!

 



The biggest host of the malaria parasite is healthy people, not sick people or mosquitoes.

The insight that sick patients showing up at clinics are only the tip of the malaria iceberg underpins emerging strategies for eradicating the disease. Simply put: you can't beat malaria if you can't find it. So any attempt to eradicate the disease must start with developing the diagnostic capabilities to find and free the roughly one billion people living with the parasite in their body and stop them from transmitting.

It may sound like a daunting task, until you consider how far we've come in recent years - and how fast.

THE DIAGNOSTIC REVOLUTION

Until 2010, there was no practical way to get a timely, accurate diagnosis for malaria. If you had a fever and wanted to be tested for malaria, you had to travel a long distance - sometimes tens of miles on foot - to find a hospital or clinic equipped with an expensive microscope and a trained lab technician. You had to take a blood slide, then wait several hours for the result - hoping that the lab technician read it right.

It was impractical, and people simply didn't do it.

In many African languages, the words for "malaria" and "fever" are the same. It's easy to understand why. Absent practical diagnostics, doctors simply treated every fever as if it was malaria and hoped for the best.

Then came the breakthrough: the rapid diagnostic test, or RDT. This simple, fifty-cent, finger-prick blood test can tell you in a matter of minutes with better than 99% accuracy if your fever is malaria.

The RDT has revolutionized the malaria fight, enabling lightly trained community health workers operating on the far reaches of the health system to test patients for malaria. Negative results are as important as positive ones as they direct doctors to consider other top killers, such as pneumonia and upper-respiratory infection. There are now more than 200 million RDTs distributed across Africa each year.

NEXT GENERATION TESTS

Today, we need to revolutionize diagnosis yet again, this time with a focus on identifying asymptomatic cases and guiding treatment.

Current RDTs have a sensitivity of 200 parasites per microliter of blood - sufficient for identifying all cases in sick people. But finding low-levels of the parasite in asymptomatic patients is like an elaborate game of hide and seek. To do it, we need a new generation of simple, portable, inexpensive diagnostic tests that are 10 times more sensitive, detecting malaria at levels of 20 parasites per microliter or even lower.

Fortunately, through innovative public-private partnerships led by groups like the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and Seattle-based partner PATH, we're well on our way to developing next-generation diagnostic tests.

Other next-generation diagnostics will potentially help solve some of the treatment challenges that stand in the way of elimination. Efforts to tackle the dominant strain of malaria in Asia and South America, known as P. vivax, have been hamstrung by the fact that some people have an adverse reaction to the drug recommended for completely clearing the parasite, due to a common inherited trait known as G6PD enzyme deficiency.

Malaria is a common, life-threatening disease in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world, especially Africa. At the last count there were over 100 countries and territories where there is a significant malaria risk, and these are visited by more than 125 million international travellers every year. Click on the link for more information on Buying Anti-Malaria Tablets

The development of diagnostics to identify individuals with G6PD deficiency would ensure better use of current drugs and potential new single-dose treatments, such as tafenoquine, currently in development by GlaxoSmithKline and MMV.

Armed with new diagnostics, we'll be in a position to take the fight to the parasite. Instead of passively waiting for sick people to show up at clinics, we can go on offense: actively testing and treating entire communities to find and root out malaria, while ensuring the type of treatment provided to patients will be safe and effective.

Which sets up the next of our challenges - check back in next week to read about another big innovation in the malaria fight: developing a complete cure!

QA: Read about Malaria No More's partner Alere and their quest for new diagnostics here.

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This is one of five topics we're covering in our new series, Solve for M: 5 Key Challenges to Ending Malaria, in partnership with Devex and the Gates Foundation. You can find others here:

Intro: Going on Offense 

Challenge 1: Find the Parasite

Challenge 2: Radical Cure (10/8/2014)

Challenge 3: Block Transmission (10/14/2014)

Challenge 4: Data Mobile (10/21/2014)

Challenge 5: Fuel the Fight (10/28/2014)

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Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/solve-for-m-5-key-challenges-to-ending-malaria https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/solve-for-m-5-key-challenges-to-ending-malaria

After a century of playing defense, it's time for the malaria fight to go on offense

In 1897, Dr. Ronald Ross - an Indian-born, British surgeon who counted poetry, mathematics, and songwriting among his other passions - made a medical discovery that would change the course of history.

Stationed in Secundebad, a monsoon-drenched city in Central India, Dr. Ross identified the malaria parasite in the gut of a dissected Anopheles mosquito. His discovery confirmed that the winged pest was in fact the vector responsible for spreading one of the oldest, deadliest, and most devastating diseases on the planet.

Dr. Ross was knighted and awarded a Nobel Prize for his efforts, and deservedly so: His discovery laid the foundation for the modern fight against malaria.

Historic Progress

We've made significant strides since Dr. Ross' time. Malaria has been eliminated throughout most of the developed world, including the United States in 1951. And progress is accelerating: Just since 2000, we've cut global malaria deaths by half, saving 3.3 million lives - most of them children and pregnant women in Africa.

However, the work is far from done. A child still dies every minute from a mosquito bite, and more than 200 million people are afflicted with the disease each year, keeping adults out of work, children out of school, and stifling the growth of developing economies.

Based on the progress of the past decade, there is a growing determination among the global health community to eradicate the disease once and for all, recognizing that the only way to ensure zero malaria deaths is to have zero malaria.

Going on Offense

So what will it take to finish the job?

We need to rethink the malaria problem in as radical a way as Dr. Ross did more than a century ago. For all our progress, the prevailing approach to controlling malaria has fundamentally been about playing defense: trying to prevent mosquitos from biting and treating people when they're sick so they don't die. Don't get me wrong. That has been the most cost-effective way of tackling a complex problem, going after the "low-hanging fruit" and bringing down the number of cases and deaths dramatically.

But to win this fight, we need to take a "parasite's-eye" view of the problem. We must attack the malaria parasite where it lives - in the human reservoir - with aggressive new approaches to find, clear, and prevent onward-transmission of malaria, even in asymptomatic carriers of the disease. In short, we must go on offense.

As part of that approach, we need to confront one of the newest and most urgent threats to the advances we've made against malaria: Resistance in Asia to the frontline treatment of the disease, artemisinin. The last time drug-resistant malaria developed in that part of the world, it spread to India and Africa, robbing us of chloroquine as an effective tool.

If that happens again, it could cost millions of lives, since we are at least 4 to 5 years away from developing a viable treatment alternative.

The Path Forward

We find ourselves at another watershed moment in the malaria fight, and the only way we're going to succeed is through relentless innovation. We need the next generation of tools and new implementation approaches; we need to harness the power of distinctly modern advances such as the use of mobile phones and big data in heatlh.

Broadly speaking, we've identified five key challenges the world needs to solve to win this fight. Every two weeks, starting this Monday, we'll zero in on one challenge and let you know who's innovating to find solutions. The series will culminate in some big news regarding the malaria community's plan to reach eradication, delivered by one of the world's biggest names and most prolific innovators in fighting disease, Bill Gates.

So stay tuned, and join us here next week as we launch with Challenge #1: Find the Parasite!

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This is the introduction to our new series, Solve for M: 5 Key Challenges to Ending Malaria. You can find others here:

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Solve for M, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/domenicos-ciao-to-malaria https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/domenicos-ciao-to-malaria

Malaria No More's Supporter Spotlight series shines a light on people from around the world who share one thing in common - a commitment to finally bring an end to malaria.

Domenico learned about our Power of One campaign through his employer, Novartis. Domenico works in the Vaccines and Diagnostics Division and is passionate about Africa. He leveraged his professional move from Italy to Switzerland to help fundraise for the campaign. At his family's going-away party, Domenico shared stories from his travels to malaria-endemic regions in Asia and Africa, mainly Uganda, where he supports orphanages, educational institutions for disabled children, as well as projects for the economic independence of small communities. He hit a nerve and got the attention of his friends. Today, 56 have decided to support him and joined the campaign!

Domenico also hosted a garage sale to benefit the cause, which inspired shoppers to pay the full price, instead of haggling for a better deal!

"This is a cause I really care about," says Domenico. "I have increased my personal engagement significantly, and thanks to the support of my family and friend, we will be able to help 4,128 children with malaria". Domenico found the campaign so rewarding, that he continues to fundraise for Power of One and to engage people around him. "One of my friends - a musician - after having donated called me in the middle of the night and told me he had just composed a song for my campaign. We are now discussing how we could use the song to help fight malaria."

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/eating-pizza-with-katharine-mcphee https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/eating-pizza-with-katharine-mcphee

Malaria No More ambassador Katharine McPhee is fighting for good on TV and in her real life. Having traveled with us to Ghana and Burkina Faso in 2012 and having supported our most recent campaign called the Power of One (Po1), Katharine had a lot to talk about with a bunch of teenagers over pizza.

Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer launched a web series called Pizza with an Icon, where teens can ask questions of influencers and all the good work they're doing. In this segment, Katharine talks about her travels and how everyone can do their part to help end malaria deaths.

"It's such a tragedy that there are people dying from something that is so easy to cure," Katharine said. "It's important for people to know that it's not that hard to make a dent in a small part of the world that you may not necessarily even have any connection with."

We couldn't be more grateful to Katharine and all her hard work on the cause.

"Katharine has been an incredible supporter of Malaria No More for years, she is truly engaged in the push to eliminate deaths from malaria," said our CEO, Martin Edlund. "Using her platform to raise awareness for the Power of One test and treatment campaign partnered with Novartis and Alere, Katharine has made a huge impact helping us move toward achieving our goal of raising three million treatments in our first partner country, Zambia."

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/support-spotlight-roger-waltzman https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/support-spotlight-roger-waltzman

On World Malaria Day, our partner Novartis kicked off an employee engagement effort encouraging their employees to get behind the malaria fight. From April 25th, to our Independence Day, July 4th, Novartis employees got active and joined the fight through Power of One.

Roger Waltzman, in charge of developing new antimalarials at Novartis, is one of the top contributors to this employee engagement effort, having raised over 18,000 USD towards treatments for kids in Africa. Here, he's filled us in on his work and how he raised all that money.

Q. Why do you believe in fighting malaria, and how did this contribute to your decision to start a fundraiser?

A. I believe it's crucial to make available high quality medical treatments for people all over the world, particularly for those vulnerable people who are at risk for preventable, curable diseases. The focus of my work at Novartis is developing new antimalarials and I wanted to generate more attention both within and outside my work environment about the importance of this effort.

Q. Did anything interesting happen while you were fundraising? Did any of your supporters do or say anything really encouraging?

A. Quite a few people didn't know that developing new antimalarials is the focus of my work and they seemed happy to hear this and happy to contribute. I appreciated their comments; one person simply said, "Good work should be supported," and I thought that was so matter-of-fact and genuine. Some people contributed $1, since you could contribute any amount, and others contributed much more!

Q. How has this program increased your charitable efforts this year, compared to an average year?

A. I made a personal commitment to contribute to the campaign 10% of however much money I could raise from others. That ended up being one of my largest charitable contributions this year and I was delighted to do it.

Q. Now that the employee engagement campaign is over, how will you continue your efforts to help end malaria?

A. My daily work is focused on the development of better treatment or prevention of malaria, so the biggest change is that I feel even more determined and inspired by seeing the very positive response this campaign engendered in friends and family.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience with our Power of One, Malaria No More, or the Novartis employee engagement campaign?

A. I was delighted that MNM created a campaign that was so simple, with a personal link for tracking contributions, and by enabling donors to contribute as little as $1. I felt completely comfortable asking my friends, family, and colleagues to consider donating something, anything, since the amount did not need to be large. I usually don't find fundraising a particularly comfortable activity, but this enabled me to feel very comfortable with the "ask." I am delighted that Novartis and MNM are collaborating in this and other ways. Eradicating malaria will take a huge effort on the part of many people and we need to collaborate for the benefit of the hundreds of millions of people who are infected every year.

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Malaria Treatments, Novartis, Supporter Spotlight, 2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/the-worlds-deadliest-animal-gets-airtime https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/the-worlds-deadliest-animal-gets-airtime

This past World Mosquito Day we were on ABC 7's Let's Talk Live discussing what else but mosquitoes, the deadliest animals on the planet.

Malaria Policy Center staff Josh Blumenfeld and Hannah Bowen, as well as our partner from DC Mosquito Squad, Damien Sanchez, spoke to the threat of malaria on Wednesday's show. Watch the full show below.

Watch the video here: http://www.wjla.com/blogs/lets-talk-live/2014/08/world-mosqutio-day-22781.html 

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2014--T:: https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/young-cameroonian-comic-joins-the-malaria-fight https://www.malarianomore.org/news/entry/young-cameroonian-comic-joins-the-malaria-fight

Arnold Mbolo, a high school senior from a family of six kids, joined the Junior Ambassador program in April 2014 after placing 6th with a comedic sketch in the MNM Cameroon school contest. When asked why he participated, he responded "I like challenges. I'm a competitive person. But, I realized that the contest educated me. Before, I barely knew anything about malaria, hence I have also won in knowledge."

For Arnold, humor is something he's been around all his life - with a professional comedian as an uncle, helping him to develop into a charismatic comedian who is responsible for "cultural animation" in his local youth association, MOJAM. In just four months, Arnold has emerged as an all-star Junior Ambassador, using his energy and comedic talents in various events at school and with MNM to ensure his community is invested in putting an end to malaria.

The goal of the Junior Ambassador Program is to engage youth leaders from high schools across Yaounde, Cameroon's capital city, to target their peers and wider communities through interpersonal communications, including clubs, school events and other activities. Arnold has done just that. He mobilized the other Junior Ambassadors to organize a school fair at his high school, where they had a stand teaching students about malaria prevention, which was also visited by the Secretary to the Minister of Education who encouraged the Junior Ambassadors to keep doing great work. He was selected as the K.O PALU mosquito mascot for the World Malaria Day Caravan and performed his winning sketch at stops throughout the city. Arnold has also received permission from his school to post K.O. PALU educational posters and a malaria prevention mural, ensuring malaria education and awareness are a part of everyday activities at school.

For World Mosquito Day 2014, Arnold worked with a fellow Junior Ambassador to mobilize hundreds of youth and community members, the mayor, and local chief to clean up a neighborhood to get rid of its standing water - which can be mosquito breeding grounds, especially during the rainy season.

Arnold is truly leading the charge, setting an example for fellow Junior Ambassadors and his community and motivating them to join the fight against malaria.

Stay tuned for more on the amazing work our Junior Ambassadors are doing in Cameroon to ensure their communities understand the threat of malaria and know how to protect themselves against the disease.

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Cameroon, 2014--T::

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