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Malaria & NTDs Q2 2022

We must encourage national ownership and global solidarity to defeat malaria

iStock / Getty Images Plus / poco_bw

Joy Phumaphi

Executive Secretary, ALMA

It is essential that we push the boundaries for domestic resource mobilisation to eliminate malaria in Africa.

This year’s World Malaria Day themes: advancing equity, building resilience and ending malaria come at a key moment in the fight against malaria on the African continent. This World Malaria Day, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance joins the continental and international community to collectively raise our voice in unison to keep malaria high on the political and global health agenda.

Urgency to achieve malaria elimination

Now is the time that we must raise a sense of urgency and build on the successes that have been made in the last two decades despite huge challenges. With optimism, joint action, shared responsibility and global solidarity we can achieve so much, as we accelerate towards our 2030 targets to eliminate malaria.

We must however keep at the back of our minds that this World Malaria Day comes against the backdrop of the latest World Malaria Report. The report provides revised estimates which indicate the number of malaria deaths are significantly higher than previously understood. The 2021 African Union Malaria Progress Report further highlights that the continent is not on track to end malaria by 2030 as set out in the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030.

Increased resource has enabled success

At the centre of a successful fight against malaria is resources. The last decade has seen a significant increase in funding for malaria programmes and interventions. African countries have demonstrated their commitment, increasing their domestic budget allocations to malaria programmes.

End Malaria Councils (EMCs) and Funds, spearheaded by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, the current ALMA chair, are being established to drive advocacy and public and private sector domestic resource mobilisation for malaria.

The last decade has seen a significant increase in funding for malaria programmes and interventions.

Benefits of public-private sector partnerships

Countries such as Zambia, Kenya and Mozambique have demonstrated how the private sector and other multi-sectoral actors can make a difference. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, these councils and funds have mobilised over USD 17.8 million (in cash and in-kind) from individuals and companies to help finance our national malaria elimination programmes.

Just recently, Uganda launched the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative (ZMBLI) to mobilise private sector companies in the fight against malaria. As more countries take up the request from the ALMA chair, we expect significant increases in resource commitments.

However, malaria is a disease of poverty, with malaria most concentrated in the lowest income countries in Africa. Therefore, we require increased contributions and sustained support of our global partners such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, which is the biggest funder of malaria control.

The fight against malaria requires global solidarity. We urge all of our global partners to join us in the fight against malaria and ensure that there is a successful Global Fund replenishment later this year.

Getting back on track with targets

With COVID-19 continuing to impact national economies, national malaria programmes across the continent remain underfunded, impeding the delivery of life-saving services and commodities with pregnant women and especially children most impacted.

Malaria endemic countries worked to keep malaria elimination as a priority, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that mosquito net campaigns and indoor residual spraying were sustained. This same commitment will allow us to once again get back on track and eliminate malaria once and for all.

Standing together in the fight

Now is the time for the domestic public and private sector to stand up and be counted as we aim for shared prosperity as a continent. It is also the time for global solidarity. We urge our global partners to stand with is in this fight, including through support of the Global Fund replenishment. Zero malaria starts with me. Zero malaria starts with us all.

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