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African Leaders Malaria Alliance mourns the death of Eswatini Malaria Chief

Dar Es Salaam 5 August 2019—The African Leaders Malaria Alliance mourns the sudden passing away of Mr. Simon Kunene, Under Secretary for Administration in the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

“A renowned epidemiologist, Simon Kunene will be remembered as a doyen of the malaria fight in Eswatini who put the Kingdom on the track towards malaria elimination,” said Ms. Joy Phumaphi, ALMA Executive Secretary, “We have lost a giant in the battle against malaria. The malaria community commits to carry forward his legacy,” she added.

As Malaria Programme Manager in a career spanning many decades, Simon Kunene led the Eswatini’s efforts in malaria management, surveillance, health promotion, vector control, case management and other related interventions in the race to meet the bold and ambitious target to eliminate malaria in the country by 2021. He was appointed Under Secretary for the Ministry of Health by His Majesty King Mswati III in November 2015 in recognition of his outstanding leadership.

Simon Kunene played an instrumental role in supporting continental work on health and driving the malaria elimination agenda in key health meetings at technical and political levels. This includes the African Union’s AIDS Watch Africa Experts and Heads of State and Government Meetings, Specialised Technical Committee Meetings on Health, Population and Drug Control. Simon chaired the inaugural continental health experts meeting that produced the 2018 African Union Malaria Progress Report. He supported His Majesty King Mswati III, the Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance on the malaria agenda in preparation of key malaria meetings including Heads of State and Government meetings. Simon contributed immensely to the establishment of the Eswatini End Malaria Fund launched in May 2019 that mobilised USD 600,000 for the malaria response in Eswatini. The newly established Fund is a public-private partnership between the Government, private enterprise, international community, and people of Eswatini.

Simon Kunene won several awards from international organisations for the success of the National Malaria Control Programme, which saw the country recognised internationally due to the positive results that came from his work.

He published extensively on malaria with 30 research works published in refereed journals with over 670 citations.