Brazzaville — The African leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) held a Forum, on 28th January, in Addis Ababa, as part of the 30th African Union Summit.
ALMA is an initiative of heads of state and government, working across country and regional borders to eliminate malaria from the continent by 2030. It was launched in 2009 at the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Over the years, the ALMA Secretariat has been supporting countries in their fight against malaria; as well as in enhancing Maternal Newborn, Child and adolescent health in several ways.
This 2018 forum was about the review of the ALMA Scorecard for Accountability & Action and the ALMA 2030 Scorecard towards the Malaria Elimination, in the context of the ambitious malaria elimination agenda, based on the African Union strategy and vision; presentation of progress on malaria elimination and discussion
among heads of states on progress, challenges recommendations and sharing of best practices.
For the first time, the scorecard that is presented to the heads of state featured an indicator on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). This was the occasion for the Regional Director to provide insights and actions that Head of State and Governments need to champion in the fight against malaria and NTDs.
“Elimination of malaria and NTDs requires - above all - political leadership, from the highest level to leadership of programmes, resource mobilization, and intersectoral and cross-border collaboration”, said Dr. Mashidisio Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “We need all actors on board – communities,
governments, donors, pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions to achieve our malaria and NTD goals, and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) ‘to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages’”, she added.
During the ALMA Forum, six (6) WHO African countries received an award: Algeria and Comoros for being on track to reach the 2020 global malaria milestone; Madagascar, Senegal, The Gambia, Zimbabwe for having a decrease of more than 20 % malaria cases and malaria related deaths in the period 2015-2016.
“To continue to win the war against malaria, considerably more resources will need to be invested in the fight. Countries need to outsmart the mosquito and the plasmodium parasite. ALMA stands ready to support country sub-regional and regional efforts in this regard” said the Executive Secretary of ALMA, Joy Phumaphi. “If we work together and if we dedicate ourselves, not just to control Malaria, but to eliminate it country by country, region by region, across borders, and to ultimately eradicate it off the face of this planet. We will win this fight. It is a fight that can be won”, she emphasized.
This year, African leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) will be supporting the Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) scorecards in 19 countries and those related to Malaria will be rolled out in 10 African Countries.
Dr. Moeti also had a bilateral meeting with Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of ALMA, to discuss strengthening of WHO-ALMA partnership.
The situation of Malaria in Africa
The 2017 World Malaria Report indicates that malaria cases are on the rise, with 194 million new cases and 410 000 deaths reported on the African continent. There is a lack of predictable, sustainable international and domestic funding for malaria control, which is reversing the gains made so far. On the positive side, more
people at risk of malaria in Africa (54%) are sleeping under an Insecticide-treated net, indicating some success in behavior change and outreach campaigns. In 2016, 15 million children in 12 Sahel countries were protected through seasonal malaria chemoprevention programmes.
The situation of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in Africa
The African Region carries about 40% of the global burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), which have a great economic impact and contribute to the vicious cycle of poverty and disease. Health and economic development are closely linked. WHO regional office for Africa and its partners are making progress in
delivering interventions to control NTDs, and in strengthening the capacity of national NTD programmes in the African Region.