Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General Iyad Madani has called upon the member states to continue to accord due attention to malaria control and elimination. He was speaking at a conference and photo exhibition organized on the eve of World Malaria Day, which falls on April 25. Leaders from the OIC, Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Roll Back Malaria (RBM) organized the event at the headquarters of IDB here to raise awareness on the scourge of malaria in OIC countries.
Madani strongly appealed to donor countries, organizations and philanthropists in the OIC region to increase their contributions for malaria control and elimination. Leveraging the importance of the final World Malaria Day under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the participants highlighted the progress made against the preventable and treatable diseases over the past 15 years. They called for increased and collective action to advance efforts toward malaria elimination, particularly in OIC countries.
Madani reaffirmed the commitment of the OIC to further strengthening its ongoing collaboration with RBM and the Global Fund. IDB President Ahmad Mohamed Ali said that human development is the cornerstone of IDB’s developmental activities, and that can be achieved by completely eradicating diseases like malaria, which has become a health challenge in our member countries. “We must work together to ensure that malaria is consigned to the dustbin of history. We cannot talk about development without having a healthy society. Malaria should be seen as a global problem that must be solved once and for all, and IDB is committed to play its role.” he added. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, executive director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, said: “We have seen tremendous progress in recent years, including some OIC countries, but much more efforts are needed.”
“I urge leaders from OIC member states, endemic and donor countries alike, to increase their commitment to malaria control and elimination efforts,” he said. Also present at the event were the health ministers of Turkey, Senegal and the Kingdom’s undersecretary general of health. The WHO estimates that malaria continues to cause an estimated 198 million cases of infection around the world each year, killing 584,000, nearly 80 percent of whom are children aged under five years.
With an estimated 131 million cases and 402,000 associated deaths each year, OIC countries account for more than half of all malaria burden globally and associated social and economic toll. Roughly 85 percent of malaria cases occurring in OIC countries are in sub-Saharan African member states, WHO figures reveal.