Leaders honored at Malaria Champions Breakfast in D.C.

Three awards were handed out at the Malaria Champions Breakfast on Thursday morning in Washington D.C. to honor the winners' distinguished service in the battle against malaria.

Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) each received awards at the fourth annual event. The ceremony, held by the Malaria No More Policy Center, honored and acknowledged leadership in research and malaria policy in the United States.

"Today we commend the ongoing leadership and commitment of the awardees, and recognize the many contributions of the U.S. government to the malaria fight," David Bowen, the CEO of Malaria No More, said. "Through the continued innovations in research and development, we have the potential to save millions of lives around the world and finally put an end to malaria deaths."

In 2011, malaria deaths decreased in sub-Saharan Africa by 33 percent. The Malaria Vision Award was presented to Coons and Wicker for their work as co-chairs of the Senate Working Group on Malaria.

"I am proud to accept this award alongside Senator Chris Coons as co-chair of the Senate Working Group on Malaria," Wicker said. "We have made significant progress against the disease, but there is still much more work to be done. Together, we must continue to highlight the tremendous malaria R&D being done here in the U.S. I'm especially proud of the work being done in my home state at the University of Mississippi."

Fortenberry, the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, received the Congressman Donald Payne Memorial Award for Leadership in the Fight Against Malaria.

"I'm humbled to receive this award today, particularly in the presence of the foot soldiers in this battle to save lives," Fortenberry said. "Through the humanitarian generosity of the American taxpayer, the ideals of our country, and also because of our position in the world as an exceptional world leader, our nation continues to lead an aggressive malaria assistance program, and I am continually impressed by our successes."

Malaria causes more than 650,000 deaths worldwide each year. The Malaria Policy Center works to galvanize support and raise awareness in the global battle against malaria. The center is a project of Malaria No More.