This year marks the tenth World Malaria Day, an internationally recognised day, highlighting the global efforts to control malaria and celebrating the gains that have been made.
Since 2007, World Malaria Day has been celebrated every year on the 25th April with events, campaign launches and re-invigorated domestic and global commitments. Ahead of this World Malaria Day, we look back at some of the key World Malaria Day events and successes from the last ten years.
Fighting Malaria on the 'River of Life'' (2008)
The RBM Zambezi Expedition was a project designed to put a spotlight on the plight of malaria-stricken communities in Africa that suffer 90% of the global annual death toll from the disease. Three photographers - Marcus Bleasdale, Ron Haviv and Antonin Kratochvil - spent two months with the expedition organisers and medical teams traveling down the mighty Zambezi River, the lifeline of southern Africa, to showcase successes and highlight challenges associated with the fight against malaria. Starting at the source of the river and finishing in its delta, the expedition traveled in inflatable boats through Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia,Zambia and Zimbabwe. By exposing the difficulties of delivering mosquito nets and medications to remote areas, the Zambezi Expedition was aimed at demonstrating that only a coordinated cross-border action can force the disease to recoil and turn the Zambezi into a "River of Life" for those threatened by malaria.
One World Against Malaria (2009)
On World Malaria Day in 2009, faith leaders in Africa and the US joined together to launch the “One World Against Malaria” campaign to promote interfaith cooperation to prevent malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa. The campaign was launched to maximise outcomes by providing support and resources to help create interfaith partnerships.
NightWatch (2012, 2014)
NightWatch is an award-winning campaign from charity Malaria No More, in partnership with other malaria partners including ExxonMobil, the Lalela Project and the Peace Corps. Enlisting help from celebrities, the campaign ran on various platforms including radio, television and even text messaging to remind people to sleep under a mosquito net each night. Initially launched in Senegal and Cameroon in 2010, on World Malaria Day 2012, the campaign was launched in Chad and Tanzania. Two years later, on World Malaria Day 2014, the campaign was rolled out in Nigeria to protect further families from malaria at night. NightWatch has inspired pop songs to share lifesaving messages on the airwaves, and support from local telecom companies in Cameroon has helped spread awareness by a further 15%.
Zero Malaria starts with me (2014)
In 2014, the “Zéro Palu! Je m’engage” campaign, also known as ‘Zero malaria starts with me’, was launched by Speak Up Africa and PATH in Senegal on World Malaria Day. The community engagement program which aims to eliminate malaria in Senegal was designed to encourage citizens to take ownership in the fight against malaria by investing in their health and that of their families, leading to a national movement. National champions and leaders have been engaged throughout the campaign, and supporters wore their pins to show their support of the movement.
The success of this campaign has inspired the RBM Partnership and the African Union Commission to launch the campaign on other malaria affected countries in Africa. The launch will take place at the forthcoming African Union Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July. In its new expanded phase, the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign will reignite grassroot movements in which individuals, families, communities, religious leaders, private sector, political leaders, and other members of the community pledge to take responsibility in the fight against malaria.
WHO launches malaria elimination manual (2014)
On World Malaria Day 2014, WHO launched "From malaria control to malaria elimination: a manual for elimination scenario planning”, a comprehensive guide to help malaria affected countries in assessing different scenarios and timelines to move towards malaria elimination.
First malaria vaccine rollout announced (2017)
In 2017, WHO announced on World Malaria Day that the first malaria vaccine will be trialled in three African countries – Kenya, Ghana and Malawi - in 2018. The new vaccine was developed to protect young children in Africa, representing the importance of innovation and technological advances for the future of malaria control.