WMU-Cooley Law School Tampa Bay campus students Rumita Singh and Ashley Hart and graduate Hardam Tripathi, along with other leaders involved in the United Nations Association of the United States of America, Tampa Bay, and Nothing But Nets, organized a meeting with U.S. Congressman Tom Rooney (R-FL-17) in Punta Gorda on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, to advocate for full funding of the Global Fund to fight malaria.
Tripathi serves as champion councilman for Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness, funds and voices to fight malaria. He works alongside Nothing But Nets council representatives Singh and Hart. As members of Nothing But Nets, the students are intent on raising awareness for needed funding to help stop the spread of malaria in both sub-Saharan Africa and in local communities through the use of long-lasting insecticidal bed nets.
“Bringing awareness to the issue at hand and informing our communities of the initiatives and preventative treatments to potentially end the malaria epidemic is very important,” said Hart. “This initiative is something that will shed awareness on malaria, a disease that is often overlooked in the United States.”
During the meeting with Congressman Rooney, the community leaders discussed the President's Malaria Initiative, which launched in 2005 to reduce malaria-related mortality by 50 percent across 15 high-burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa through a rapid scale-up of malaria prevention and treatment measures. They spoke of the potential economic effects of fighting malaria early on by using funds for prevention and education as opposed to treatment initiatives.
Tripathi advocated for continued funding for U.S. foreign assistance by means of the President’s Malaria Initiative to be appropriated to the United States Agency for International Development. He also encouraged continued support via the Global Fund to be appropriated to the United States Department of State and the United Nations.
“Malaria is a public health issue, a humanitarian issue and a national security issue. We have an obligation to protect our service members and their families,” Tripathi said. “If we can invest funds early on, I believe citizens will not have to carry the economic burden on the back end in order to fund costly treatments for blood transfusions and pharmaceuticals associated with treatment of those affected.”
The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inform the American public of the principles and activities of the United Nations, to engage the public to support these principles and to encourage the United States to take an active leadership role in the United Nations. The Tampa Bay chapter pursues the mission of the UNA-USA in a regional scope by interacting with Tampa Bay Communities through education, empowerment, and advocacy.
“Together as a community we can work with organizations and advocates around the world to help make a positive impact by preventing the disease from being transmitted to those individuals who are most vulnerable to the disease,” noted Singh. “As a community, we can help fight this epidemic by working together to raise funds and provide for those in need around the world.”