On 6 November 2013, WHO/ PAHO honoured initiatives from three malaria-endemic countries with the ‘Malaria Champions of the Americas Awards’. The Malaria Champions of the Americas awards were given to Colombia (Colombia Malaria Project), the Dominican Republic (National Center for Control of Tropical Diseases), and Brazil (Secretariat of Health of the State of Acre). The Malaria Champions of the Americas was launched in 2008 to identify, celebrate and inspire excellence in efforts to fight the disease.
The Colombia Malaria Project received the top Malaria Champion award for 2013. The Colombia Malaria Project involves multiple organizations; accomplishments include creating sustainable local capacity through training for local health workers in malaria prevention and control and improving the well-being of indigenous populations.
The National Center for Control of Tropical Diseases of the Dominican Republic was recognized for its innovative use of technology in addressing each malaria case individually, for its close collaboration with stakeholders and non-health sectors (tourism, agricultural, construction), and for integrated vector management.
The Secretariat of Health of the State of Acre, Brazil, was recognized for its leadership in reducing malaria and its innovative efforts to address other health problems, including lymphatic filariasis and Chagas disease. Special recognition was given for its sustained excellence in malaria efforts.
PAHO Deputy Director Jon K. Andrus, said that PAHO/WHO is committed to sharing best practices and lessons learned to contribute to further progress in reducing malaria in the Americas. Elly Brtva, President of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF), said the elimination of malaria from the Americas is within reach and appealed to those who engage in philanthropic activities to support efforts to conquer the disease. Lynn Goldman, Dean of the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services emphasized that while there are many challenges to end the disease in the countries in terms of geography, culture, and other factors, malaria is a preventable tragedy and that everyone should contribute in multiplying efforts and contributions to overcome malaria.
Malaria Champions of the Americas awards are organized each year by PAHO/WHO, PAHEF, and the Center for Global Health of the George Washington University, with the collaboration of other institutions.