The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) and the United Nations Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign announced today a partnership to combat HIV and malaria in southern rural Malawi.

Actor Scott Wolf, his wife Kelley, and actress Alexandra Daddario traveled there with the two organizations to see first-hand how they are tackling both global health issues.

Combined, malaria and HIV cause more than two million deaths each year. The partnership between ETAF and Nothing But Nets is a strategic approach to offering holistic care in order to tackle two deadly diseases that cripple communities. By combining resources, the organizations aim to continue a sustainable impact in the villages.

The remote rural area of Malawi visited by the delegation is home to approximately 675,000 people who face extreme poverty and an inadequate health infrastructure, with under-resourced health care facilities struggling to meet high demands for care. ETAF has funded quality, village-based health services delivered by the Global AIDS Interfaith Alliance (GAIA) since 2008 through a system of five mobile health clinics that provide basic health services and health education in areas of need selected by the government District Health Office. Now, in partnership with ETAF, Nothing But Nets, the world’s largest grassroots campaign fighting malaria, will help stock the mobile clinics with malaria tests and treatment for two years.

“Meeting some of the volunteers and employees at the mobile clinics – they’re incredibly inspiring, hard-working people who are so grateful to be part of this growing system,” Scott Wolf said of his visit. “Their commitment and care for their communities will inspire me moving forward.”

Alexandra Daddario noted that in speaking with the team and community members she learned “over the past nine years things have really changed because of the health care these mobile health clinics are providing. This program is clearly making a sustainable impact on this community.”

Every two minutes, a child dies from malaria. Due to the high malaria burden in the southern Malawi region, this disease quickly became a major focus of care for the ETAF-funded mobile health clinic program. “Due to the severe impact malaria can have on a person with HIV, it is critical to fight both diseases simultaneously,” said Joel Goldman, Managing Director of ETAF. In areas with stable malaria transmission, HIV increases the risk of malaria infection and clinical malaria in adults, especially in those with advanced immunosuppression. In settings with unstable malaria transmission, HIV-infected adults are at increased risk of complicated and severe malaria and death. “As The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation continues to build our coalition of partners working to achieve UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets in this region, we needed to include an organization whose core competency is preventing and treating malaria. During times where resources are scarce, it is especially important lean on partnership building amongst NGOs.”

“We are pleased to partner with The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation to help families who are vulnerable to malaria and HIV co-infections,” said Margaret Reilly McDonnell, Director of Nothing But Nets. “We need more innovative collaborations to address these deadly diseases around the world and we hope to see the day when no one dies from either.”

The goal of the partnership is to fight both HIV and malaria simultaneously and empower a community to become healthy, so kids can attend school, parents can work, and the community can thrive.

To help ETAF and Nothing But Nets save lives, click here.

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