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Contact: Sue-Lane Wood, 206.285.3500, suelanewood@path.org

Congressmen Donald Payne (D-NJ) and John Boozman (R-AR) to serve as co-chairs

Washington, DC, April 24, 2008—First Lady Laura Bush announced today the creation of the Congressional Malaria Caucus, which will provide an important forum for new and enhanced congressional leadership in the effort to strengthen the global fight against malaria. Congressmen Donald Payne (D-NJ) and John Boozman (R-AR) will co-chair the new caucus. 

As chair of the United States House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Congressman Payne has long been a champion of fighting the diseases that ravage that continent. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least 2.3 billion people are at risk for malaria and that between 300 and 500 million persons are currently infected. Each year, more than one million children under the age of five, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, die from the disease. However, by scaling up the use of existing tools and accelerating access to new ones, progress is being made and success is possible, given sufficient leadership and political will.

“Congress and the Administration have shown great leadership in the global fight against malaria through US support for the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” stated Dr. Christopher J. Elias, president of PATH. “This new caucus will serve as a critical addition to America’s leadership in this area.”

PATH works to reduce the global burden of malaria by supporting both the scale-up of existing tools and the development of new ones. The Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) program at PATH works to strengthen national systems so that they can rapidly deliver the best existing methods for malaria prevention and treatment to the people who need them most. To complement this work, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) seeks to accelerate the development of malaria vaccines and to ensure their availability and accessibility in the developing world. 

MACEPA’s framework for scale-up depends on strong country leadership, a single coordination mechanism for implementing the plan, and a single monitoring and evaluation system. For the past three years, MACEPA has implemented this model in Zambia and is currently working to expand the model to additional countries, including Ethiopia. “Partnering with African countries to build the capacity of national malaria control programs is a priority for sustaining commitment to reducing the impact of malaria in the Africa region,” said Dr. Kent Campbell, director of MACEPA.

MVI supports a number of vaccine candidates, investing in diverse approaches to vaccine development. By working with partners around the world, including scientists and policymakers in malaria-endemic countries, MVI is able to synergize efforts in the malaria vaccine community. “By extending existing strategies and investing in new tools, such as a vaccine, MVI hopes that the long-term goal of eradicating malaria can be realized,” said MVI’s director, Dr. Christian Loucq.

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