August 20th marks the day in 1897 when the British physician Ronald Ross confirmed that the female anopheles mosquito transmitted malaria to humans. Each year that day August is commemorated as World Mosquito Day. Dr. Ross’s research and discovery earned him a Nobel Prize for Medicine. His discovery laid the groundwork for scientists to understand and deal with the Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes that spread the parasite that causes malaria. Stamp at top, issued by India in 1997, with portrait of Sir Ronald Ross, celebrated the centenary of the discovery.
The air mail charity stamps from Haiti (1949) show a sanatorium in Port au Prince where patients with malaria and tuberculosis were treated.
In 1960, the 26th Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO) resolved that postage stamps devoted to the Global Malaria Eradication Programme would stimulate interest in the battle against malaria. A plan was approved for the issue of malaria eradication stamps and Member States were invited to take part. It was hoped that Member States would be able to give the Organisation either a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of such stamps, provide quantities of stamps for the WHO to sell internationally to philatelists, or make other suitable donations.
Here is a small selection of stamps issued in support of the 1960 initiative.
The Polish issue had an error showing only white cells and no parasites in the microscopic image of a blood film seen on the middle stamp.
The two stamp sheets from Gabon (1966) feature Red Cross first aiders administering treatment, on the right a nurse is seen providing anti-malaria medicine.
During the 1970 and 1980s there was less international support for malaria control and fewer countries produced stamps highlighting the problem. Despite this there are still very many anti-malaria stamps to be found if the subject is of interest to the collector, including the last three items seen here from the Solomon Islands (1977), Botswana (2011) and Angola (2019).
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