The CDC Foundation has announced a grant of $29.9 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of efforts to eliminate malaria on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The grant will support the creation of a Haiti Malaria Elimination Consortium (HaMEC) that includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC Foundation, the Haiti Ministry of Public Health and Population, the Dominican Republic Ministry of Public Health, the Pan American Health Organization, the Carter Center, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. HaMEC's activities will build on a 2009 bi-national malaria elimination plan; improvements in malaria diagnostics and surveillance made possible by recent support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and earthquake recovery funds provided in 2012 by the U.S. government.
Members of HaMEC will work with Haiti and the Dominican Republic to develop, adopt, and implement an evidence-based strategy and operational plan for achieving malaria elimination; secure the additional financial resources needed to achieve elimination of the mosquito-borne disease; improve and refine malaria surveillance systems to support decision-making and action; and reduce malaria transmission through implementation of effective community-based interventions that are tailored to the level of malaria risk in high-prevalence areas. While the grant from the Gates Foundation will provide initial support for malaria elimination efforts in Haiti, where more than twenty thousand confirmed cases were reported in 2013, additional financial resources will be required and sought by the consortium to achieve the 2020 elimination target.
"We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for this generous grant," said Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. "Eliminating malaria in Haiti will lessen the burden on Hispaniola's public health systems, freeing up resources to tackle other pressing health issues. Additionally, eliminating malaria will result in increased productivity and economic gains for the people of Hispaniola as well as attract foreign investment and safeguard existing philanthropic investments."