The tsunami in Japan and the earthquake in Haiti are among the world's most notorious recent natural disasters. Their fierce devastation claimed thousands of lives, destroyed vital infrastructure and crippled economies. The communities affected could not be more different from one another, yet the similarities in the responses are striking.

While the worldwide outpouring of support demonstrated what humanity is capable of at its best, it also highlights with disquieting clarity that the same level of empathy is more difficult to evoke when a crisis is chronic instead of sudden, unexpected and dramatic. One of the most devastating global health challenges on the planet is malaria, which claims more than 800,000 lives annually, primarily among young African children.

According to the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, 2,000 children die of the disease each day. Unlike the aftermath of a natural disaster, there are no photos to capture the scope of this tragedy. The loss of life is every bit as devastating, but it is much easier to become indifferent to malaria's victims. That's why the United Nations, World Bank, Global Fund, Tony Blair Faith Foundation, African heads of state, and many other governments, organizations, and individuals have felt compelled to act.