Washington, DC, 25 April 2013 (PAHO) — The search for the next "Malaria Champions of the Americas" will get under way today, on the occasion of World Malaria Day, April 25. This year's contest will highlight malaria initiatives that provide added value by integrating and seek solutions to other health challenges as well.
Currently in their fifth year, the annual Malaria Champions of the Americas awards honor innovative efforts that have significantly contributed to overcoming the challenges of malaria in communities, countries, or the Region of the Americas as a whole. The awards are sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), and the George Washington University Center for Global Health (CGH).
In the Americas, malaria mortality declined by 67% between 2000 and 2011, while the number of cases declined by 58%. Seventeen of the 21 malaria-endemic countries in the Americas are on track to achieve a 75% reduction in their case incidence rates by 2015.
The theme of this year's World Malaria Day is "Invest in the Future. Defeat Malaria." The campaign seeks to raise awareness of how increased measures for prevention and control have led to dramatic reductions in the burden of malaria in many places throughout the world.
The 2013 Malaria Champions of the Americas contest will recognize initiatives that integrate malaria interventions with other public health measures. Ideal candidates will demonstrate achievements not only in fighting malaria but in addressing other health concerns (e.g., integrated vector management addresses other vector-borne diseases, while integrated health service delivery helps fight malaria along with other diseases). Nominations will be evaluated based on demonstrated achievements in capacity building, innovation, collaboration, and impact.
Winners of the 2013 Malaria Champion of the Americas award will receive:
The opportunity to participate in three PAHO capacity-building trainings for malaria prevention and control
A US$2,500 cash award for malaria-related capacity-building efforts (e.g., staff training/education, research, project proposal development, or other activities that enhance skills and abilities to achieve goals and targets)
A commemorative plaque
The opportunity to be featured in various communication platforms of PAHO, PAHEF, and GWU-CGH as a "best practice" story on malaria.
Nominations for the 2013 Malaria Champions of the Americas will be accepted from 25 April to 24 June 2013. Full details and nomination forms can be downloaded at www.paho.org/malaria2013.
Top winners will be recognized during the commemoration of Malaria Day in the Americas on November 2013.
Previous awardees have included:
The National Malaria Program of Paraguay, recognized in 2012 for outstanding achievements in reducing the burden of malaria towards elimination of local transmission and establishing a systematic model of testing, treating, and tracking malaria cases through innovative involvement of community volunteers, strategic supervision, support of personnel, quality assurance in providing services, and effective use of local resources to achieve national targets and contribute to the global battle against malaria
The Municipality of Wampusirpi in the Department of Gracias a Dios, Honduras, honored in 2011 for outstanding achievements in reducing the burden of malaria and establishing an effective model to combat malaria in a challenging socio-economic environment, particularly in indigenous communities.
The National Malaria Board of Suriname, recognized in 2010 for outstanding achievement in reducing Suriname's malaria burden through strengthened partnerships, community mobilization, and implementing a comprehensive program of surveillance, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment that extends to border areas and mobile populations.
The National Service for Control of Arthropod-Transmitted Diseases (SNEM) in Ecuador's Ministry of Health and the Project for Malaria Control in Andean Border Areas (PAMAFRO) of the Andean Health Organization, honored in 2009 for outstanding contributions to the prevention and control of malaria through an innovative partnership targeting vulnerable populations.
Other honorees have included Malaria Champions from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
PAHO, founded in 1902, works with all the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. It also serves as the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) is a US nonprofit organization located in Washington, DC. Founded in 1968, the foundation is dedicated to building public health expertise in the Americas to innovatively lead development of healthier generations by partnering with PAHO, the private sector, and major public health research, policy and development groups.
The George Washington Center for Global Health carries out innovative research and scholarly service activities to meet the evolving challenges of the 21st century global health and development environment. Working with a diverse group of partners, the Center aims to strengthen the link between science and policy and to improve responses to critical health issues around the world.