Malaria, one big fight for Africa

Africa’s economy is forging ahead, but one ancient plague is threatening its future.

In an opinion piece on Huffington Post, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said winning the fight against malaria is key to Africa’s future. She said if people care about health, education, peace and prosperity, and economic development, then people “must care about malaria.”

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said malaria is one of the top three killers of children under 5 in Africa and accounts for 50 percent of preventable absenteeism in schools. The deadly disease “drains the lifeblood” of Africa’s economies, costing Africa an estimated $12 billion a year in lost productivity. The disease also robs poor families as much as 25 percent of their disposable income.

Sirleaf, who will also be assuming the chairmanship of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance this week, said that while Africa has seen considerable progress in the delivery and use of lifesaving tools against the disease, more needs to be done, such as expanding domestic funding of health and innovative financing to meet continued progress in Africa’s malaria fight.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.