Approaching World Malaria Day 2024

Posted 18th April 2024 by Aminah Alhamdu 

April 25th is World Malaria Day, an annual observance to call attention to the worldwide fight against malaria and look back on developments from the past year. This year, the malaria community picked the theme of ‘Gender, Equity and Human Rights’ highlighting the disproportionate effect that the malaria endemic has on women and girls, as carers, healthcare workers and as patients burdened by the disease. 

According to the WHO World Malaria report, in 2022, at least 12.7 million pregnancies in the WHO Africa region were exposed to malaria infection. Even in cases where they are not the ones infected by the parasite, women are often burdened by the duty of staying home to care for family members who suffer from malaria, causing them to miss out on work and school, which furthers the educational and financial effect gap between genders. For these reasons, it is evident that the eradication of malaria will not only have a positive effect on the healthcare landscape across Africa but will also impact the daily lives, education and economic prospects of many African women and girls. 

Target Malaria will be engaging in a week-long campaign and a series of events to spread awareness about the malaria endemic, the contextual relevance of gender equity and human rights, and how our approach to reducing transmission through gene drive technology could be a key component in the fight against malaria.  

In the lead up to World Malaria Day, Prof. Abdoulaye Diabaté, the Principal Investigator of Target Malaria Burkina Faso, is attending and speaking at the annual TED conference (15-19th of April). This is a momentous opportunity to share our innovative research to a wider audience, beyond the scientific community and regional stakeholders across Africa. 

This past week, Target Malaria’s own Dr. Samantha O’Loughlin, Dr. John B. Connolly joined Dr. Michael Santos from FNIH to deliver a session on gene drive at RBM Vector Control Working Group (VCWG)’s annual meeting (15-17th of April), in Kigali, Rwanda.  

You can also look forward to the Multilateral Initiative for Malaria (MIM) World Malaria Day celebrations, which will take place from the 21-26th of April, also in Kigali, Rwanda. On the 23rd of April, Prof. Abdoulaye Diabaté  will join Naima Sykes, Head of our Global Stakeholder Engagement Team, to speak at a symposium on ‘the role of African scientists and communities in the development of genetic technologies for malaria vector control’. 

We have developed a wax pattern in the traditional African style that nods to our scientific approach to malaria eradication and to the theme of gender. Our African stakeholders in Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda will be sharing some of their input on the discussion around the malaria crisis in their home countries.  

As a follow-up to the Yaoundé Declaration, we encourage the global community to reaffirm their resilience in this fight and come together to take the next steps towards and achieving and end to malaria in our lifetime.