Vanguard (Lagos)

African Leaders Meet to Accelerate Progress Against Malaria

PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan is teaming up with 29 other African Heads of State in Tanzania as the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) - A coalition of 30 African Heads of State working to end deaths from malaria convene a special session at the African Union Summit to review progress on malaria control and discuss ways to further accelerate progress against the disorder.

The Heads of State will discuss policy initiatives designed to overcome important barriers to sustainable malaria control. Issues under discussions will include advocating for new financing to ensure long-term funding for malaria interventions in

Africa, which includes an appeal to the donors for financial replenishments for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria and the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA).

They will also examine progress on the commitment that African leaders made under the 2000 Abuja Declaration to remove taxes and tariffs on imported anti-malarial commodities that increase the cost of these commodities as well as progress on WHO recommendation and Roll Back Malaria (RBM)'s call for banning the use, importation, and manufacture of artemisinin mono-therapies, which contribute to increased resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), recommended treatment for malaria.

The ALMA meeting is being convened by the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, who has served as ALMA's convener since the forum was launched. ALMA leaders will elect a Head of State as a Chairperson for 2010-2011 as part of their proceedings.

Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Vice President, Africa Region for the World Bank and Dr. Jay Winsten, Senior Communications Advisor, Office of the UN Special Envoy for Malaria and Associate Dean & Frank Stanton Center Director Center for Health Communication, Harvard School of Public Health are amongst dignitaries attending.

ALMA was launched by African Heads of State during the 2009 UN General Assembly.

The coalition is dedicated to keeping the fight against malaria high on the political and policy agenda at the global level and within Africa.

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