The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) welcomes today’s commitment by 53 Commonwealth leaders to halve malaria across the Commonwealth within the next five years.
The game-changing commitment followed this week’s Malaria Summit, where leaders from malaria-affected countries, businesses, donors and the international community made new commitments and urged Commonwealth leaders to get Ready to Beat Malaria.
Today’s commitment from the Commonwealth has the potential to prevent 350 million malaria cases and save 650,000 lives. 90% of global malaria cases and deaths occur on the African continent and the impact of this renewed focus to eliminate malaria will be felt across the continent.
Earlier this week African leaders affirmed their determination to eliminate malaria, with 12 African countries in the Commonwealth announcing new commitments including:
· 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, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, in line with the African Union’s (AU) Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria by 2030, committed to supporting member countries to introduce and strengthen the use of national and sub-national malaria scorecards and action trackers, with robust community engagement; to support increased domestic funding from both the public and private sector; and to continue its work with Heads of State and Government in Africa to monitor progress towards this goal.
This week also saw additional commitments from the international community including:
· The UK Government reaffirmed its commitment to spend £500 million a year through 2020-2021 and an extra £100 million commitment to the Global Fund.
· The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which announced an additional US$1 billion through 2023 to fund research and development to reduce the burden of malaria. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged £50 million in matching funds against the UK Government’s additional £100 commitment to the Global Fund.
Today’s announcement and earlier commitments made this week will be vital for re-energizing the global community’s fight to end malaria.
The 2017 World Malaria Report revealed that progress towards eliminating malaria globally and across the African continent was fragile and uneven. While several African countries including Madagascar, Senegal, the Gambia and Zimbabwe led the world in reducing malaria cases in 2016, nine out of the 10 countries which saw the greatest increase in cases were on the African continent.
As we continue to make progress, we are starting to see new challenges impacting our fight including climate change and increased resistance to interventions. Today’s announcement will help support countries to scale up the interventions which work while helping to tackle the new challenges around drug and insecticide resistance and climate change.
With 90% of its population at risk, the Commonwealth is disproportionately exposed to malaria. While malaria is estimated to cost African economies US$12 billion a year in direct losses, it is also estimated to cost the UK over £700,000 in lost trade.
This week’s commitment from the Commonwealth, African governments, donors and the international community, highlights that the world is Ready to Beat Malaria.
Quote from H.E. Dr. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of eSwatini representing His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini and Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance:
“We have made significant gains against malaria on the African continent. This progress has been the result of the sustained commitment from African leaders and the international community.
But the gains made are fragile and there is no room for complacency. Failure to sustain and indeed strengthen our efforts will have humanitarian effects as well as cost implications for our respective countries.
Today the Commonwealth has made a strong statement that it is ready to beat malaria. Let’s recommit to work together as governments, development partners, the private sector and communities to eliminate malaria for good.
Zero malaria starts with me and with you.”