Tomorrow is World Malaria Day, commemorated each year by the World Health Organization to shine a spotlight on the need to combat a disease that, while preventable and treatable, still kills more than half a million people annually. I’ve asked ExxonMobil Foundation President Suzanne McCarron to provide an update on our efforts to help eradicate malaria. ~Ken
Fighting malaria is something we take seriously at ExxonMobil. As it happens, malaria ravages a number of countries around the world in which we do business.
So for the past 15 years we have dedicated resources and effort toward the goal of eliminating this disease. In that time ExxonMobil partners have trained nearly half a million health workers and distributed more than 13 million bed nets, 2 million rapid diagnostic tests, and 2 million doses of antimalarial treatments.
The world has experienced some success – since 2000, malaria mortality rates have dropped by nearly half worldwide, and cases in Africa are down by one-third. But, ominously, health experts have noted emerging antimalarial drug resistance and insecticide resistance that threaten global progress. Continued investment in innovative tools and approaches is more important than ever.
We have renewed our commitment to fighting malaria with the announcement this morning of $10 million in new grants to support a range of research, education, advocacy, and treatment programs to reduce the human and economic toll of malaria. This brings ExxonbMobil’s investment in anti-malaria efforts to more than $140 million since 2000.
All of the programs we are supporting are worthwhile, and I encourage you to click the links in the press release to get more information on them.
One program in particular I want to highlight is a partnership with Oxford University to provide scholarships for promising young health leaders to pursue a Master of Science degree in International Health and Tropical Medicine. Many of these scholars are from countries that suffer disproportionately from malaria and other health concerns. The expectation is they will take what they learn in England back to apply in their home countries.
The ExxonMobil Global Health Scholars studying at Oxford are an impressive group, with the right balance of passionate idealism and practical desire to generate public health advancements that will save and improve lives.
Learn more about the Scholars program in a video that explains more about the work that these men and women are preparing, ultimately, to undertake at home.
“For many scholars, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Oxford’s Dr. Emma Plugge, who helps administer their course of study. “They grabbed it with both hands, and they will be forces for positive change.”