Every year, between 300 and 500 million people suffer the effects of malaria. The disease claims more than one million lives annually, and 90% of its victims are children.
Together with its terrible human toll, the effects of malaria hurt educational achievement, worker productivity, and economic development. It afflicts the impoverished, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, and is itself a source of poverty.
We know we can put an end to this cycle of disease and poverty. In the last few years, we have witnessed a growing global effort to combat this curable and preventable disease. We are using proven drugs to treat malarial illness and simple tools to prevent the disease, including insecticide nets, indoor spraying, and safe, inexpensive drugs for pregnant women. Millions of people have benefitted, translating to lives saved and the advancement of human progress.
The United States has been a leader in working with our partners to curb the spread of this disease. In the past year alone, the United States provided malaria prevention or treatment measures to more than 32 million people in 15 focus countries across Africa. We are already seeing major reductions in the proportion of the population infected with the disease, and we are witnessing a striking decrease in the number of deaths among children under the age of five. The people benefiting the most are those least able to afford protection and treatment on their own.
With solutions already in hand, we can envision a world free of the scourge of malaria. So today, we reaffirm our commitment not just to curbing the spread of this disease, but to working with our global partners to end malaria as a major public health threat. We will redouble our own efforts, and we will call on our partners to join us in reaching the day when we can celebrate a world without malaria.