I received a text message from a friend today that he's headed to the beach next week; an unexceptional piece of information, except for the fact that last August "going to the beach" was the furthest thing from my his mind.
It is a sad statement that childhood tuberculosis still kills as many children as it does. But this is an eminently solvable problem. All the world needs is a more aggressive commitment to end the disease.
The UK has displayed remarkable long-term vision with this commitment. Its contribution of £1 billion to the Global Fund for 2014-2016 can allow people in many countries -- from presidents to community organizations to health workers -- to transform their countries by fighting HIV, TB, and malaria.
There are 18 million Google hits for the search term "twerking." Yes, that abomination of a dance move (at least I think that's what it's supposed to be) made forever infamous via a gratuitous and depraved performance by a former Disney starlet. 18 million.
With health care facilities remote or non-existent, medication unavailable or unaffordable, health knowledge shaky, and caregivers in short supply, how can informal communities keep contagion in check?
When Germany and other wealthy nations came together to create the Global Fund a decade ago, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria were leading causes of death in developing countries. But world leaders recognized that they could make dramatic gains against these three diseases.
Imagine the benefits that the end of these diseases would bring: more healthy mothers and children, an increased number of productive workers, greater global economic growth, and a safer, more stable world for all of us.
No entire country, or entire population, is at the same risk of contracting infectious diseases. Many diseases disproportionately affect the groups of people who get left behind, because they are criminalized and at the margins of society.
UNITAID is a small but scrappy group based within the World Health Organization that is applying 21st century solutions to age-old problems using a 1-2 punch of innovative financing and futuristic technology.
This is my call -- from a poor nation to history makers -- to be the generation who can change the course of history. Let's march mercilessly against TB, HIV and malaria. In an age of vaccines, antibiotics and dramatic scientific progress, these diseases can be brought under control.
Today I am blessed to be the president of a country filled with people who share my desire for a better Malawi and a better Africa, but we cannot do it alone. Today I stand proudly next to the Global Fund, its partners, and my fellow Africans with a promise.