Earlier this year, I began working with Jonathan Kidwell as I looked for ways for the North American professional pest management community to help address vector-borne illnesses and food insecurity on a global scale. Kidwell is the senior officer, partnerships and development, for “United to Beat Malaria,” a campaign funded by the Washington, D.C.-based United Nations (UN) Foundation.
While at press time the food supply efforts are in the exploratory stage, we as pest management professionals (PMPs) have an opportunity to help support this group’s efforts to reduce the malaria threat, extending our impact as protectors of public health to families around the world.
THE FIGHT CONTINUES
Recently, I had a chance to discuss the “United to Beat Malaria” campaign with Kidwell to raise this issue in the minds of Pest Management Professional’s readers. Many people have heard of the “Nothing but Nets” campaign that started in 2006. “United to Beat Malaria” doesn’t replace that effort; rather, it builds upon it. Providing mosquito nets in third-world countries is a simple, tangible and immediate step that can limit people’s exposure to infected mosquitoes in their homes. However, it is only one step of many.
Just as the pest management industry adopted the integrated pest management (IPM) approach, “United to Beat Malaria” now employs several strategies to continue the fight. In addition to providing treated nets, the campaign’s efforts include providing preventive medication for pregnant women; equipment and materials for indoor residual applications; diagnostic testing; and post-exposure medication.
“The campaign’s impact goes beyond funding on-the-ground projects,” Kidwell says. “’United to Beat Malaria’ is committed to building and strengthening partnerships and mobilizing malaria champions around the world who rally their communities and elected officials to fight this disease — a disease we can eradicate within this generation.”
HOW PMPS CAN HELP
The UN Foundation is looking for partners, advocates and ambassadors, and I can’t think of an industry more well-suited to help than ours. Kidwell points out that the campaign doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to partnership opportunities. Rather, partnerships can take place in several ways, including direct financial support; raising awareness in our communities, speaking to legislators; and providing advertising space on company websites to help focus the attention on this critical issue.
The fight against malaria, other vector-borne diseases, and food insecurity due to pest damage and loss are all winnable. Like an IPM system, however, it will take participation from various sources. Funding is always significant, but spreading the word throughout our industry and communities is vitally important.
To find out more about “United to Beat Malaria” and the UN Foundation, visit BeatMalaria.org or contact Kidwell at Jkidwell@unfoundation.org. To find out how you can help support the effort to address food insecurity due to food damage and loss, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at Dan.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Malaria facts at a glance
- Anopheles mosquitoes can carry the parasite that causes malaria.
- Malaria remains one of the most significant and burdensome diseases facing humanity, even though it is preventable and treatable.
- Nearly half of the world’s population lives in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 87 countries and territories.
- In 2020, malaria caused an estimated 241 million clinical episodes and 627,000 deaths — primarily in children and pregnant women. An estimated 95 percent of those deaths were in the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) African Region.