Guest Contributor | Apr 20, 2017 | 0
One step closer to zero malaria
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) gathered last weekend in the wings of the 26th African Union Summit to celebrate unprecedented progress against malaria in Africa.
Thirty four Heads of State and Heads of Delegations joined the annual meeting, which was chaired by H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, who is also the current chair of ALMA. During the meeting, H.E. Idriss Déby President of Chad was appointed to take over as the next chair of ALMA.
Thirteen African countries including Namibia were awarded for their progress in the fight to eradicate malaria.
The leaders reiterated their commitment to malaria elimination on the continent by 2030.
“We have an exceptionally strong platform from which we can now work to finally eliminate malaria from the continent once and for all,” said H.E. Idriss Déby, President of Chad.
Since 2000, malaria mortality rates in Africa have fallen by 66 % overall and 71% among children under five. “The African Leaders Malaria Alliance is a model for what we can do when we commit ourselves to a collective goal. Our progress is undeniable,” said Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “This is what it looks like when we work together – this is how we build a better future for Africa.”
The 2016 ALMA Awards for Excellence were given to Botswana, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, South Africa, and Swaziland for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for malaria
Rwanda, Senegal and Liberia were awarded for Performance in Malaria Control between 2011 and 2015 while Mali, Guinea and Comoros were recognised for being the Most Improved in Malaria Control between 2011 and 2015.
“These are impressive achievements,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “They are a result of your vision of a malaria-free world.”
Many African leaders have made fighting malaria a key focus over the past several years, assisted by commitments from donors such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United States’ President’s Malaria Initiative, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and the French government.
But the job is not finished. There were 188 million case of malaria in Africa last year. An African child still dies every two minutes from the disease.
“Despite the remarkable achievements, we should not lose sight that malaria remains a disease of poverty and a major public health concern particularly in Africa,” said H.E. Prime Minister Dessalegn. We must therefore continue to invest in malaria interventions in order to reduce malaria cases and deaths.”
The leaders committed to achieving and sustaining high levels of coverage with effective interventions. They committed to increasing domestic public and private funding. They acknowledged the recent enhanced commitments by the U.K. and U.S. governments, and called for similar commitments from other partners, including supporting the replenishment of the Global Fund.
The leaders reviewed the ALMA Scorecard for Accountability and Action and the ALMA 2030 Scorecard Towards Malaria Elimination. Building on these, leaders committed to develop their own national malaria control and elimination scorecards with an accountability and action mechanism.
Founded in 2009, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance is a groundbreaking coalition of 49 African heads of state and government working across country and regional borders to achieve a malaria-free Africa by 2030.
The Alliance comprises Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.