WASHINGTON, June 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Malaria No More Policy Center today announced the recipients of annual awards for distinguished service in the fight against malaria. The three separate awards, which this year are being received by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-01-NE) and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), were presented this morning at the Fourth Annual Malaria Champions Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
"Today we commend the ongoing leadership and commitment of the awardees, and recognize the many contributions of the U.S. Government to the malaria fight," said Dr. David Bowen, Malaria No More CEO. "Through the continued innovations in research and development, we have the potential to save millions of lives around the world and finally put an end to malaria deaths."
The awards acknowledge and honor U.S. leadership in malaria policy and research and development achievements. In the past year, the world has seen continued success in reducing malaria deaths, due in great part to U.S. support. 2011 saw a 33 percent reduction in the number of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Today, the Malaria Vision Award, presented to leaders who are strong voices for effective malaria policy, was given to Senators Coons and Wicker for their work as co-chairs of the Senate Working Group on Malaria.
"Investing in the prevention and treatment of malaria not only improves the health of millions of people around the world, it also improves the economic livelihood of individuals, countries, and entire continents," Senator Coons said. "I am honored to accept this award alongside my friend Senator Wicker. As co-chairs of the Malaria Working Group, we are committed to continuing to fight for the full scope of resources necessary to end senseless deaths from malaria. This is an issue that crosses the partisan divide and deserves continued strong, bipartisan support. Whether you live in central Africa or central Delaware, in the 21st century, no one should die of a preventable, treatable disease like malaria."
Through the Working Group, Senators Coons and Wicker have worked to keep malaria at the forefront of global health issues. Past recipients of the award include Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the Chair of the Clinical Center Department of Bioethics at the National Institute of Health, and Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and former Minister of Health for Botswana.
"I am proud to accept this award alongside Senator Chris Coons as co-chair of the Senate Working Group on Malaria. We have made significant progress against the disease, but there is still much more work to be done," said Senator Wicker. "Together, we must continue to highlight the tremendous malaria R&D being done here in the U.S. I'm especially proud of the work being done in my home state at the University of Mississippi."
The Malaria Action Award, presented to a leader or institution that translates policy into tangible action was presented to the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. The award is in recognition of the work being done by the research institution to develop a malaria vaccine candidate, in addition to its other critical contributions, such as new antimalarial drugs, to the fight against malaria. Past recipients of the Malaria Action Award are Rear Admiral Tim Ziemer, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, and USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.
"I am extremely honored to accept this award on behalf of several generations and thousands of dedicated professionals working at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research to quietly advance the cause of malaria control for more than 100 years," said Deputy Commander Colonel Peter J. Weina, accepting the award on behalf of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. "Our dedication to both soldier health and world health makes the elimination of malaria suffering as critical today as it was for the WRAIR back in 1893. With the tools of science available today and the dedication of groups such as 'Malaria No More,' we look forward to celebrating, in the very near future, a time when we no longer see senseless deaths and suffering from this ancient disease."
The Congressman Donald Payne Memorial Award for Leadership in the Fight Against Malaria was presented to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.The award honors Congressman Donald Payne who was an ardent supporter of global health issues and lent his voice to protect the world's most vulnerable, reaching across the aisle to achieve real results.
"I'm humbled to receive this award today, particularly in the presence of the foot soldiers in this battle to save lives. Through the humanitarian generosity of the American taxpayer, the ideals of our country, and also because of our position in the world as an exceptional world leader, our nation continues to lead an aggressive malaria assistance program, and I am continually impressed by our successes."
Malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable disease, which kills over 650,000 people each year. Through the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the U.S. Government helps provide funding for critical life-saving tools, such as insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapies.
The Malaria Policy Center, a project of Malaria No More, works to raise awareness and galvanize support to address the global fight against malaria. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Center works with the global health community to engage policy leaders in the United States and in the other donor nations to advance efforts to defeat malaria worldwide.
Kristin Pugh Bundy
SOURCE Malaria No More Policy Center