(Dar es Salaam 25 April 2018) The African Leaders Malaria Alliance marks this World Malaria Day by declaring we are Ready to Beat Malaria. In 2016 there were 216 million malaria cases and 445,000 malaria deaths. Most of these cases and deaths were on the African continent and while there was significant progress in driving down malaria cases and deaths between 2000 and 2015, the World Malaria Report 2017 indicates that this progress is stalling and renewed commitment is needed.
In a resounding call to action, countries across the African continent will mark World Malaria Day by announcing that through their renewed political leadership and increased funding they are Ready to Beat Malaria. Countries are spending more of their national budgets on malaria control and elimination and a record number of African countries (Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) are contributing to the Global Fund.
Earlier this month, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, leaders agreed to halve malaria by 2023 and African heads of state and government made the following additional commitments to ensure that we achieve a malaria free Africa:
• The Kingdom of eSwatini - Pledged to rid the country of malaria by 2020. Including a recent commitment to double domestic financing for indoor residual spraying, driving more effective prevention to help achieve the goal of elimination. They also committed to mobilize more domestic resources from the private sector for the fight to eliminate malaria and to continue their leadership and support for the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
• Ghana – Committed to drive innovation in the fight to beat malaria, including being one of three countries to pilot the new malaria vaccine and one of the first to introduce next generation resistance beating insecticides for indoor residual spraying.
• Kenya – Committed to achieving universal health care as part of Kenya’s four pillar agenda and to prioritizing efforts to eliminate malaria across the country by 2030. Including a near term target of ensuring at least 80% of people living in malaria risk areas are using appropriate malaria preventive interventions and that all malaria cases are treated in accordance to the National Malaria Treatment Guidelines.
• Malawi - Committed to reduce malaria incidence and deaths by at least 50% by 2022, and to eliminate malaria entirely from the country by 2028.
• Mozambique – Committed to convene a national multi-sector malaria forum including private sector, community and partners to work together to achieve a malaria free Mozambique.
• Namibia - Highlighted historic success in cutting malaria rates by more than 90% and reiterated their commitment to eliminate malaria across the country in the next few years. They emphasized the importance of cross border collaboration and the regional elimination efforts of the E8 partners in supporting this ambition. In addition to current government investment levels of US$2 million per year they are also aligning their national resource strategy to help meet future funding gaps.
• Nigeria - Committed to efforts to elevate malaria on the national priority list, including securing US$300 million in new financing from the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank and African Development Bank to help finance their national malaria strategy. They also pledged an additional US$18.7million to leverage US$37million from the Global Fund to distribute 15 million mosquito nets and to support the local manufacture of essential malaria commodities.
• United Republic of Tanzania - Committed to reduce Malaria prevalence from 10% in 2012 to less than 1% in 2020. Including a commitment to continue the provision and distribution of mosquito nets to achieve universal access by 2020, and scale up larviciding and Indoor Residual Spraying to prevent malaria. They further committed to strengthening capacity building for health care providers at regional and council levels.
• The Gambia – Committed to accelerate efforts to eliminate malaria across the country by 2022. This includes a new cross-border collaboration with Senegal to support sub-regional elimination efforts.
• Uganda – Committed to establish a Presidential Malaria Fund Uganda (PMFU) to help mobilize increased dedicated resources from government, partners and private enterprises to fight malaria. They further committed to support government parish chiefs to supervise and ensure appropriate use of all malaria interventions; and to ensure that 15,000 Community Health Extension Workers (CHEWS) are recruited and facilitated to promote equitable access to early treatment and prevention services in all households.
• Rwanda – Reaffirmed its commitment to health as a national priority, including investing 20% of their national budget in the health sector. They also highlighted the roll out of free treatment for malaria and committed to reduce malaria by 50% in the country by 2023 and to achieve elimination by 2030.
• Zambia - Aims to achieve 100% malaria-free status by 2021. In support of this ambition they will place new dedicated Malaria Elimination Officers in each district and launch an end malaria commission that will support resource mobilization efforts, including through the private sector. This will complement and build on their increased national investment in fighting malaria – which has increased by 300% over the last five years.
In addition, during the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) in Dakar, the African Union and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria announced two campaigns to accelerate progress towards malaria control and elimination. The Sahel Malaria Elimination Initiative will launch at the African Union Summit and comprise Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and The Gambia. This regional group will collaborate across their country borders to boost efforts to eliminate malaria, much as they have sought to do in Southern Africa with the "Elimination 8" Initiative.
The African Union and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria will launch the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” public campaign across the continent to activate people in families and communities to be responsible for malaria control and elimination. This campaign is modeled on a campaign of the same name launched in Senegal five years ago.
With these new commitments and more to come, we can achieve a malaria free Africa.
Founded in 2009, ALMA is a ground breaking coalition of African Heads of State and Government working across country and regional borders to achieve a malaria-free Africa by 2030. All African Union member countries are members of ALMA. The ALMA Scorecard for Accountability & Action and the ALMA 2030 Scorecard towards Malaria Elimination are important tools which track progress and drive action.
The ALMA Awards for Excellence celebrate exemplary leadership in malaria control and elimination efforts. The Awards are chosen by an independent selection committee comprised of leaders and experts in the areas of health, academia and the private sector using data from the World Malaria Report.
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