In 2014, Inis Communication created The Social Media Awards to recognize and promote the use of social media in global health. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are central to engaging wider audiences in information sharing, dialogue, knowledge creation and collaborative action on priority health issues.
This year, Inis Communication is the proud organizer of the 2015 Social Media Awards: Malaria Heroes, in cooperation with the Awards’ sponsors.
Thanks to concerted action and investment, the world is making ground-breaking progress towards eliminating malaria. Progress to save lives is accelerating, with malaria deaths more than halved and more than 4.3 million lives saved since 2000. Nevertheless, over half a million children died in the past year from a disease that is largely preventable and entirely treatable.
Efforts to prevent and control malaria are closely linked to several of the proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs). Well-established linkages include the contribution of malaria to the poverty cycle, the concentration of disease in vulnerable populations and those with poor access to health services, and its detrimental impact on education through missed school days and the cognitive effects of chronic anaemia. Ending malaria is one of the major ‘anchors’ of sustainable development.
Where malaria persists, it increasingly affects some of the most disenfranchised people and communities, such as rural and forest workers, and mobile populations. But there is no malaria ‘constituency’ or community of people living with Plasmodium sp., in the same way that we see a movement of people living with HIV or vocal affected communities. For many people, ‘living with malaria’ is largely regarded as an established fact of life, geographic reality, or accepted occupational hazard. There are relatively few organizations that advocate for sustained malaria responses, and rarely do you hear defeating the disease framed in terms of basic human rights. As a result, malaria champions, leaders and innovators tend to be dedicated and highly motivated individuals, working in the background, and often driven by personal commitment.
“Malaria Heroes’, the theme of the 2015 Social Media Awards, was selected to recognize and reward those individuals. The Awards will also help to strengthen the malaria community across countries, sectors and specializations, because to reach our vision of a malaria-free world, we must rise together to #defeatmalaria.