Jan. 14, 2011, 10:02 a.m.
Dec 22, 2010
In 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set an ambitious target: universal coverage of mosquito nets for every man, woman and child at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier that year, he appointed Ray Chambers as the first-ever UN Special Envoy for Malaria, who has worked ever since to make that ambitious goal an astounding reality.
Today, at the launch of the WHO World Malaria Report, Ray was able to announce significant progress toward that goal. From his official statement upon the publication of the report:
While virtually all nets needed for universal coverage are already financed, external factors have extended the duration of the distribution phase, and net deliveries will continue into the early part of 2011, when the universal coverage target is set to be reached. Maintaining coverage and ensuring high levels of utilization, while increasing efforts to expand access to effective treatment and diagnosis will continue to be necessary in order to achieve the Secretary-General’s goal of reaching near-zero malaria deaths by December 31, 2015.
By the end of this year, 289 million nets will have been delivered since the beginning of Ray's tenure at the United Nations. By mid-2011, the world will join millions of families across Africa to celebrate an historic achievement in the global effort to end malaria deaths: universal coverage of mosquito nets.
This achievement, once considered impossible, is largely thanks to Ray's leadership, tenacity and humanitarianism. We look forward to standing with Ray in 2015, to celebrate another great victory: ending malaria deaths in Africa.
Scott Case is CEO of Malaria No More.