GENEVA, Switzerland, April 25 (UPI) -- The World Health Organization established April 25 as World Malaria Day in 2007 to raise awareness about the disease and to promote investment in funding prevention and control initiatives.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke Friday from Vienna about both the progress and hurdles combating malaria.
"I applaud the many committed partners whose concerted efforts have saved well over 3 million lives since 2000. The global malaria mortality rate has been reduced by more than 40 per cent and many countries have successfully moved closer to eliminating the disease.
".... While we applaud progress to date, we must confront the fact that malaria still kills more than half a million people every year. Most of these people are still small children, under five years old, living in sub-Saharan Africa."
More funding, he said, was needed "to maintain progress and continue scaling up coverage of effective malaria interventions."
On Twitter, users -- including the UN -- promoted the awareness campaign and call for continued investment with the hashtags #WorldMalariaDay and #DefeatMalaria.