Media CenterCRS Commits $3 Million to the Global Fund to Fight Malaria in Niger

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Brittany Wichtendahl
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(757) 748-5003

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, April 21, 2021 – Ahead of World Malaria Day, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has committed $3 million to continue the fight against malaria in Niger. In partnership with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the contribution aims to save the lives of more than 400,000 children and reach more than 2 million people with enhanced malaria prevention and treatment services.

“Around the world each year malaria strips thousands of children of their childhood,” said Sean Callahan, CRS’ president & CEO. “Providing this support for the Global Fund and the government of Niger will help us accelerate the end of malaria. Globally, we have already saved the lives of 11,000 children and with this, we will be on our way to saving so many more.”

According to UNICEF, in 2018 more than 15,000 children under 5 years old died from malaria in Niger, which ranks at the bottom of the UN’s Human Development Index. Through the work of groups like the Global Fund, the number of global malaria deaths has been more than halved over the past 19 years, but Niger has seen a slight increase, from 16,814 deaths in 2000 to 17,022 deaths in 2019.

“Malaria is a serious health concern here in Niger despite a strong national response,” said Aliou Ayaba, CRS’ Global Fund project director in Niger. “Our detected cases have continued to increase over the years, and most of those are occurring in children, the ones who are the most innocent, the ones who have the most to look forward to. The continued partnership with the Global Fund means many families will not have to live through the pain of losing a child to malaria.”  

The funding, which will be added to the Global Fund allocation for Niger, will allow for an extension of the preventative medication known as seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) from four rounds to five. This medication will be provided to three districts across Niger that have a longer transmission season and also experience high case and mortality rates of malaria among children under 5 years. SMC is a cost-effective approach that is normally administered by community health workers, especially in more rural areas. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, CRS has trained in-home caretakers on how to administer the medication, reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. In 2020, CRS provided more than 4 million children across Niger with a full course of SMC medication.

“Our brothers and sisters in Niger are fighting against a disease that we can help put an end to,” said Callahan. “As Catholics, we are called to stand beside them and assist in any way we can. This funding will help children receive simple medical care that could save their lives, giving them a chance to reach their full potential.”

CRS will also purchase new bed nets, which continue to be one of the best means of protection. The new bed nets will provide increased protection with a new insecticide, as there has been high resistance to the current insecticides used. The funding will also pay for reinforced malnutrition screenings for children under five and a referencing and monitoring system for volunteer community health workers.

CRS has been working with the Global Fund on programs to address HIV, TB and malaria since 2013. This work has benefited more than 86 million people across countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. CRS also operates malaria programs in 12 countries, including Niger, which fight the disease through prevention, diagnosis and treatment, and community education.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Public Relations Strategist

Brittany Wichtendahl
April 20, 2021

Brittany Wichtendahl is a public relations strategist for Catholic Relief Services, out of Baltimore. Drafting press releases for secular and Catholic news media, Brittany also crafts pitches to help publicize CRS's work. She writes op-eds for placement in national print publications, and monitors news outlets for stories related to CRS and CRS programming.

Brittany is a graduate of...More