Mosquitoes and Malaria: Taking a Big Step Against a Small but Deadly Foe

Shaun Donovan | White House Blog | February 22, 2016

Summary: The Obama administration just announced a major new commitment to combating the scourge of malaria.

If you’ve ever swatted away a mosquito on a muggy summer night, then you know how annoying these winged pests can be. But in many parts of the world, mosquitos are not just irritating—they’re deadly. Malaria, which is transmitted by mosquitos, took the lives of 438,000 people worldwide last year. More than 3 billion people remain at risk of contracting this horrific disease, which is especially dangerous for pregnant mothers and young people.  As President Obama put it last September, “Many children are just one mosquito bite away from death. And that is a moral outrage.”

That’s why the President’s recently-submitted budget requests an additional $200 million for the President’s Malaria Initiative—a bipartisan effort begun by President George W.  Bush to reduce the burden of malaria in Africa and Southeast Asia. Under the PMI, the United States government—including USAID, the CDC, the Department of Defense, and the Peace Corps—has worked with partner countries, donors, and multilateral organizations across the globe to make real progress against malaria. 

This brings the total funding the White House has requested for this initiative to $874 million next fiscal year—a 30 percent increase from this year, and more than doubling PMI’s budget at the beginning of the Administration. And, with these additional resources, we will be able to take bold new steps to combat this ancient nemesis...