On September 21, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that its President’s Malaria Initiative would expand to include four new countries: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger and Sierra Leone.
The President’s Malaria Initiative, which was initially launched in 2005 by USAID, works diligently to decrease the incidence of malaria-related deaths and increase malaria prevention and treatment programs predominately in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the addition of the newly developed programs, the initiative currently works in 24 different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to USAID, the initiative’s expansion will help approximately 332 million people in order to fight the spread of malaria.
The Center for Disease Control reported in 2015 that the initiative works with other agencies such as the World Bank, UNICEF and non-governmental organizations in order to combat malaria more efficiently.
The initiative is dedicated to providing malaria prevention programs to those at the greatest risk for suffering from malaria-related deaths such as pregnant women and young children. Such interventions include “intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women” and “indoor residual spraying with approved insecticide.”
Also, the initiative works closely with the Sub-Saharan African countries in order to address other factors that increase one’s risk of contracting malaria. For instance, the initiative helps with reinforcing infrastructure in developing countries; political instability is oftentimes linked to negative health outcomes.
USAID reported in 2016 that more than six million lives have been saved through the initiative; however, the initiative still has a vast amount of work to do. Malaria spreads quickly in Sub-Saharan African countries, and there is a large number of susceptible pregnant women and children in such countries that need immediate care. The inclusion of four new countries is promising, but President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget seems to tell a different story.
The Council on Foreign Relations stated in April 2017 that President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget “calls for deep cuts to foreign assistance programs,” which is immensely troublesome.
Programs like the President’s Malaria Initiative are able to thrive and help more people with necessary funds, so it is imperative that the United States government stays on the track to further developing this initiative.
– Emily Santora