On the heels of the Global Fund’s record-breaking fifth replenishment conference, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) joined the Nothing But Nets campaign and our partner Junior Chamber International USA (JCI USA) in Detroit on September 24th to discuss the importance of U.S. government investments in malaria prevention programs.
Since 2011, JCI USA has partnered with Nothing But Nets to hold over 350 congressional meetings advocating for strong U.S. leadership to fight malaria, specifically supporting increased U.S. financial commitments to the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UN agency-led malaria programming.
Drawing upon her experiences leading a Congressional Delegation to a PMI site in Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, Senator Stabenow spoke to JCI USA’s annual meeting about the importance of U.S. government investments in the fight to defeat malaria through the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs).
“We saw families that were literally protecting their children – and saving lives – from something that seems so simple, but is incredibly important.”
The public health evidence backs up Senator Stabenow’s observation; malaria control interventions have saved 6.4 million lives since 2000, thanks in large part to the distribution of over 856 million ITNs by the Global Fund and PMI. These programs – and nets – are saving lives from clinics in Cambodia to refugee camps in South Sudan, and almost everywhere in between.
“In this particular malaria prevention project in Zanzibar, they have been able to reduce malaria for children under the age of five to less than one percent – that’s huge,” Stabenow said, highlighting the important role that organizations like JCI USA have to play in advocating and raising funds to defeat this disease.
Globally, JCI members have raised more than $3.5 million for Nothing But Nets, which has enabled UN agencies such as UNICEF and UNHCR to help protect thousands of vulnerable children and families across Africa. In the state of Michigan alone, more than 3,400 Nothing But Nets supporters, including the Michigan Jaycees, have raised nearly $600,000 to support this cause.
Despite this remarkable progress, malaria still claims over 438,000 lives per year. Following this year’s Presidential election, Congress will reconvene to discuss critical funding levels for malaria programs through the Global Fund and PMI. Congressional champions like Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will be the key to helping to achieve a malaria-free generation in our lifetime.
Want to learn more about congressional advocacy in the fight to defeat malaria? Visit: http://nothingbutnets.net/champions/