I feel deeply honored as a WHO staff member, as well as personally, for having been invited to address the Inter-American Malaria Research Symposium. The privilege is even greater since assembled here today are so many well-known research workers, whose contributions to our better understanding of Plasmodium and its relation to vector and host have been invaluable.
It has often been said that research in any field, whether human activities or natural history, is influenced by the political interests of a given society. Malaria is rightly considered as one of the main killing diseases, particularly of children, in some areas of the world and also as a very important factor in reducing the productive potential of mankind wherever this disease persists. Since malaria is not only a health problem, but also a socio-economic problem, malaria research and antimalarial activities tend to be greatly influenced by elements of human society.