By Alfred Akuki
On World Malaria Day, Malaria No More celebrated its 11th Annual International Honours event by recognising two leaders who have helped make that progress possible, and who remain committed to defeating malaria for good.
“Aliko Dangote and Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer represent the combination of U.S. government support and endemic country leadership that have made malaria one of the great public health success stories of our time,” said Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More.
“One is a military leader who has served the world’s most vulnerable populations across three Administrations; the other is Africa’s most successful businessman and most prominent philanthropist – and they have found common cause in working to end malaria.”
The work is not done. Despite historic progress, malaria remains a daily threat, with half the world’s population still at risk. In 2015, there were 429,000 malaria deaths and 212 million malaria cases. A child still dies from malaria every two minutes. In Sub-Saharan Africa, which, in 2015, contributed 90 percent of malaria cases and 92 percent of malaria deaths, the disease is the leading cause of missed days of school and worker absenteeism.
Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer served as the founding U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator from June 2006 until January of this year. Malaria No More congratulates Admiral Ziemer on his recent appointment to President Donald J. Trump’s National Security Council, where he serves as Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biothreats.
Under Rear Admiral Ziemer’s leadership, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) became recognized as one of the most efficient and effective examples of development assistance, with work spanning 19 African countries and the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Through 2015, PMI procured more than 197 million mosquito nets; protected some 16 million people with spraying; distributed 58 million preventative treatments for pregnant women and procured 376 million anti-malaria treatments and 229 million rapid diagnostic tests.
“The malaria fight is a great example of U.S. leadership across parties and we must continue until the job is done and people around the world are safe from this preventable and treatable disease,” said Rear Admiral Ziemer. “We could not have achieved remarkable progress in the last 16 years without genuine endemic country leadership, or without innovative and entrepreneurial partners like Malaria No More.”
Mr. Dangote is the Founder, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group, the largest conglomerate in West Africa. Based in Nigeria, the Group has cement production, sugar refining and flour milling operations in 17 African countries. A leading global philanthropist, Mr. Dangote has created the largest private foundation in sub-Saharan Africa. The Dangote Foundation has an endowment of $1.25 billion.
Mr. Dangote is Nigeria’s Malaria Ambassador and a member of the End Malaria Council, a new global champions group convened by Bill Gates and UN Special Envoy and Malaria No More co-Founder, Ray Chambers. Last year, the Dangote Foundation and the Nigerian government jointly launched a Private Sector Engagement Strategy for malaria control.
“As a businessman, I recognize that malaria sucks the lifeblood out of the African economy; we cannot realize our potential as a nation unless we stop this disease. As a Nigerian, I am personally committed to ending the disease in my home country, which despite our progress still accounts for more than a quarter of global deaths from the disease,” said Mr. Dangote.”