If the world is to eliminate malaria by 2015 as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for, it will require a massive, systematic effort. No single agency or group can do it alone. And independent acts of compassion, while commendable, must be integrated into a systematic plan of prevention, region by region, country by country.
The malaria parasite is a wily foe. In the 1950s it appeared to be all but eliminated, and the world let up on a global plan only to have the parasite come roaring back with a vengeance. We can’t allow this to happen again. Today the parasite is resistant to the medicines used in the ’50s and stronger than ever in some areas.
I’m in Geneva with Bishop Tom Bickerton and the Rev. Gary Henderson, both with The United Methodist Church’s Global Health Initiative, Shannon Trilli of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, two colleagues from Lutheran World Relief and Michael Pajonk of the United Nations Foundation. We’re meeting with leaders of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It’s exciting.
We’ll be talking about how the efforts by United Methodists and Lutherans to end malaria interconnect with the Global Fund. The meeting has been two years in the making. I’m told it’s the first meeting of its kind.
It’s an outcome of the Global Health Initiative approved by General Conference. I’ll have more to say after we begin our two days of meetings.