Africa: President Kenyatta Highlights the African Union Progress in Defeating Malaria Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

press release

President Kenyatta highlights the African Union progress in defeating malaria
amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
Launches initiative to engage youth and a new digital platform for data-driven malaria
responses on the continent
Dar Es Salaam, 11 February 2021- President Uhuru Kenyatta, chair of the African
Leaders Malaria Alliance, announced the progress that has been made in responding
to malaria amidst the COVID-19 public health emergency. The third Zero Malaria
Starts With Me annual Africa Malaria Progress Report highlights the achievements,
challenges, and future directions in Africa’s battle to defeat malaria. Since the launch
of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me Campaign in 2018 by African Presidents, 19
countries have launched the initiative. The public-facing campaign calls for
communities and leaders to take personal responsibility to end malaria.
“At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO predicted a doubling of malaria deaths
if severe disruptions to insecticide-treated net campaigns and access to antimalarial
medicines were experienced. While we are now in the second wave of the pandemic,
I am delighted to say that through the strongest in-country leadership, this predicted
doubling in malaria deaths was averted,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya,
who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted access to essential malaria services.
However, African countries averted a major malaria upsurge by ensuring that that over
90% of planned net distribution campaigns went ahead with COVID safety measures
in place. More children than ever before were reached with preventive antimalarial
medicines in areas of highly seasonal transmission whilst following COVID-19
‘While the targets in the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria
in Africa by 2030 are bold and ambitious, I am encouraged by the significant progress
that is being made. We should continue the big push for new funding initiatives with a
focus on domestic financing such as End Malaria Funds and End Malaria Councils,
increased roles for the private sector, invest in new innovations and tools and above
all maintain the political commitment, shared responsibility and global solidarity’ said
Her Excellency Mrs. Amira El Fadil, the Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African
Union Commission.
During the meeting President Kenyatta launched the ALMA Youth Army Strategy that
puts young people at the centre of the malaria fight in line with continentalcommitments including the African Youth Charter and the AU Roadmap on Harnessing
the Demographic Dividend Through Investments in Youth. The instruments give
priority to youth development and empowerment. During the press conference, the
RBM Partnership to End Malaria launched the Draw the line Against Malaria
campaign, which seeks to tap into African creative talent and deploys novel digital
ways of engaging youth in the fight to end malaria that will significantly contribute to
the vision set out in the ALMA Youth Strategy and the priorities that young people put
together during the Africa malaria youth consultative process.
“Countries held the line against malaria in 2020—this year we must draw the line for
good. The Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign will create a unifying, ground-
breaking and inspiring global platform to capture youth and public imagination, rally
communities and leaders behind the crucial fight to rid our continent of this deadly
yet preventable disease,” said Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO of the RBM
Partnership to End Malaria
To enhance data-driven decision making and drive action, His Excellency President
Kenyatta is launching today the ALMA Scorecard Hub, a new digital platform for
scorecard management and accountability tools. The launch of the ALMA Scorecard
Hub is a critical step in African countries’ efforts to drive accountability and actions to
achieve the bold targets set to eliminate malaria by 2030, end Neglected Tropical
Diseases and improve maternal and child health on the continent. The platform will
allow countries to share their scorecards and best practices about the use of the tool.
It will also offer a digital training platform with online courses and a repository of
information, toolkits and global best practices on scorecard and accountability tools.
Used in over 40 countries in Africa, the scorecard management tools track progress
of key health indicators, ensuring that policy-makers and citizens have access to
critical health data and that health workers, local governments and communities to are
well informed to act.
Beating malaria remains a major public health challenge in Africa. During the COVID-
19 pandemic African governments mounted effective responses that ensured access
to malaria services which averted many thousands of deaths on the continent. The
COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of investing in and strengthening
health systems and the need to work together to find solutions. The response to
COVID-19 has set a challenge, to apply the same vigour, in the fight against malaria,
for Africa to accelerate the elimination of malaria by 2030.

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