Martin Edlund, CEO of Malaria No More, talks about malaria and Power of One
Martin Edlund is a founding member and CEO of Malaria No More. During his tenure, he has implemented high-profile engagement campaigns leveraging cutting edge mobile, social, and e-commerce platforms. Prior to Malaria No More, Martin was a journalist and political consultant.
May 22, 2014
What is Power of One? What difference will it make for children in Africa?
Edlund: Power of One is a campaign by Malaria No More, its partners – including Novartis – and the public to end malaria deaths, one dollar and one child at a time. Malaria kills a child every minute, but Power of One lets you stop the clock by donating one dollar to provide a malaria test and treatment for a child in Africa, where malaria takes its greatest toll.
The campaign uses the latest mobile, social, and e-commerce technologies to engage users and report back on impact, and Malaria No More is able to amplify each donation so that it has double the impact thanks to Novartis’s commitment to match each treatment raised.
Malaria still kills a child every minute. What are the challenges to eliminating it?
Edlund: We’ve made tremendous progress in the malaria fight, including a 48% decline in the rate of child deaths since 2000. But there are still big hurdles, including drug resistance in Asia, limited financial resources and the challenge of getting life-saving tools – including nets, tests, and treatments – to remote rural areas where malaria is endemic. But despite the challenges, we’re in a better position than ever to finally write malaria into the history books.
A new generation of diagnostics make it possible to find the parasite as never before. We have the drugs to treat anyone who has the disease. And research and development is bringing us more powerful tools, including the promise of a single-dose “radical cure” that will be essential to making elimination a reality. Here again, Novartis is leading the way with its commitment to R&D. Finally, mobile technology is helping us track shipments of treatments into the field, and give front-line workers a simple way to monitor outbreaks and report back on progress or request additional resources as never before.
Why do we need a campaign like Power of One? How is it unique?
Edlund: I believe that simplicity is paramount when asking the public to get involved in helping us reach such an ambitious goal. I think that’s what makes Power of One so compelling – it’s based on the very simple – yet meaningful – premise that one dollar buys one malaria test and treatment for one child in Africa, where 90% of malaria deaths occur.
In addition to highlighting the impact a small monetary donation can have, Power of One also makes the experience incredibly easy through the innovative use of the latest mobile and commerce technologies. It’s remarkable the power we hold in our hands, with mobile phones, to change the world, and Power of One demonstrates that by making it so easy to help a child.
Why is Novartis the right partner?
Edlund: There’s the obvious answer, which is that Novartis is the leading maker of WHO’s recommended treatment for malaria, artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs).
However, I think the more important reason Novartis is the right partner for us is our shared commitment to ending this disease. Novartis pioneered the development of ACTs and of dispersible formulas making it easier for kids to be treated. That commitment continues through the Malaria Initiative focusing on R&D – not to mention SMS for Life, which is helping to ensure that people get the medicine when and where they need it most through better use of data.
At Malaria No More, we’re proud to celebrate Novartis for its indispensible role in helping defeat the disease and helping to make malaria no more. It’s no exaggeration to say that the historic progress we’ve made in the malaria fight would not have been possible without Novartis.
How can the general public join Power of One and help fight malaria?
Edlund: We’ve done our very best to make it as simple as possible for people to help us save lives from malaria. It’s as easy as a few swipes on your smartphone. Donations can be made on our mobile-friendly Power of One website – www.Po1.org – which gives you the tools to seamlessly track your impact, see how your treatments are changing lives on-the-ground in Africa, and recruit your friends to increase your “Network Impact.” We also encourage people to start their own fundraising pages through the site to help get their friends, family and community involved in the effort.
We’ve started the campaign in Zambia, where the treatment gap – the treatments the country knows it will need between now and the end of 2015, but has no funding for –has been estimated at three million. Through the matching program with Novartis, the campaign has already raised enough to provide two million treatments – putting us just one million away from our goal. With the help of the public, I’m confident we can reach the finish line and help close the treatment gap for children in Zambia.
If you are interested in learning more about Power of One and joining the fight, go to www.Po1.org to find out more.