World Malaria Day is an opportunity to celebrate the fact that the world is on track to meet the global Millennium Development Goal target of reversing the incidence of malaria.
I applaud the many committed partners whose concerted efforts have saved well over 3 million lives since 2000. The global malaria mortality rate has been reduced by more than 40 per cent and many countries have successfully moved closer to eliminating the disease.
Preventing and treating malaria ensures that more children are well enough to stay in school, learn skills and grow into productive members of society. This spares human suffering, increases household income and contributes to economic development.
While we applaud progress to date, we must confront the fact that malaria still kills more than half a million people every year. Most of these people are still small children, under five years old, living in sub-Saharan Africa.
Too many cases still go untested, unregistered and untreated.
Today, I repeat my call for continued investment and sustained political commitment and will to improve malaria prevention and control.
We need more funding to maintain progress and continue scaling up coverage of effective malaria interventions. We need more resources to develop and maintain effective surveillance programmes and to combat increasing mosquito resistance to insecticides and parasite resistance to antimalarial drugs.
On this World Malaria Day, let us renew our collective commitment to combat malaria and ultimately defeat this deadly disease.