US$17.8 million to eliminate malaria
The Global Fund strengthened its commitment to the southern African region with a US$17.8 million grant to the Elimination 8 (E8) regional initiative, at an event held on Wednesday in Kasane, Botswana.
According to a release availed after the announcement, the regional grant will complement US$275 million in country-level Global Fund grants over the next three years for malaria in the region, and will accelerate progress to malaria elimination. At the event, ministers of health from the E8 member countries linked with national malaria programme managers, technical partners and representatives of the Global Fund. The ceremony also coincided with the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Health Ministers Meeting and SADC Malaria Day. The new, three-year grant will build on this success by catalysing regional activities that are designed to accelerate the pace of a country’ progress towards achieving malaria elimination in southern Africa. This includes addressing some of the regional challenges that threaten malaria progress: the high frequency of people crossing borders and ensuring access to early diagnosis and treatment of malaria in border regions. For this to be fruitful, Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, founding chairperson of the E8 Ministerial Committee and current E8 ambassador during a recent interview with Aidspan said, “The increasing level of population movement across porous country borders necessitates a joint approach to fighting malaria.” “Together as a region, we must join efforts in combating this disease as a united force,” he added. Furthermore, the grant will support the development of a regional malaria surveillance system and database, and the establishment of a regional laboratory, both of which will improve the region’s capacity to collectively understand where malaria transmission is occurring and how best to contain it.