One of the incredible things about New York City is its status as a center for the international community. Taking advantage of our location just a few stops from the UN, several Solutions Across Borders members took a trip on the 6 train to the United Nations headquarters to participate in a panel discussion on malaria this past December.
Despite its rank as the number one killer of children in Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is all too often neglected by the media. Panelists emphasized that because of its prevalence in impoverished countries, its toll extends beyond human life. Pierre-Louis of the World Bank, in particular, stressed that malaria costs Africa an estimated $12 billion in lost GDP each year, through direct costs of treatment and diagnosis, as well as indirect costs resulting from sick workers. It is in effect, not only a disease of poverty, but also a disease that promotes poverty. In truth, malaria and other diseases like AIDS are detrimental not only to areas of health, but also to the development of impoverished countries.
However, SAB hopes to not only learn about the problems in our world, but to educate ourselves about possible solutions, and club members who attended the session also came away with the knowledge that there is hope to eradicate this disease. Panelist Timothy Zeimer, the President’s Malaria program coordinator stated that the US aims to reduce mortality rates by 15 percent in five years, by pairing educational programs with the distribution of anti-malarial medication and mosquito nets.
- Tina Grandinnetti