Pretoria, 31 July 2019 –The Ministry of Health of the Republic of South Africa launched the national Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan for South Africa (2019-2023) last week during the fifth Annual Southern Africa Malaria Research Conference that took place at the University of Pretoria. The country has made huge strides in responding to malaria with a significant reduction on the number of malaria cases over the past decade. Despite the recently reported upsurges in malaria cases in some districts, South Africa is steadily progressing towards malaria elimination.
“Ending malaria is a key building block to healthier and fulfilling lives. To achieve the South African National Development Plan 2030’s vision for economic prosperity we need increased investments in malaria and the broader health development agenda. Investing in health is investing in human capital development which is a precursor for inclusive economic growth and transformed societies,” said Ms. Joy Phumaphi, ALMA Executive Secretary.
According to the Malaria Programme Review conducted in 2018, one of the strengths of the South African programme is that the government funds it. High coverage of indoor residual spraying which stands at over 85% has had a significant effect in maintaining control of malaria and reducing local transmission within the country. However, funding was not sufficient to realise the goal of elimination. Health system challenges and resource mobilisation were noted as barriers. Additionally, the review found that one of the ongoing challenges was high importation risk from neighbouring malaria endemic countries.
The Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan seeks to achieve zero malaria transmission in South Africa by 2023. The development of the strategy was very inclusive and builds on existing progress in effective management, sustained leadership and coordination, strengthened surveillance systems, social and individual behaviour change communication, and universal coverage with key vector suppression interventions. The strategy is aligned with the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030, the Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030) and the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (2016–2030).
The South African Scorecard for Accountability and Action, launched during the meeting, will help the country to track performance against key indicators and take action to address areas of underperformance. The Treasury is mobilising domestic resources for the role out of the tool at national and provincial levels.