The “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” national mobilization campaign to eliminate malaria has been a model of success since it was first launched in Senegal in 2014. Organizations around the world continue to laud the program, with H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal, receiving the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Award for Excellence for his outstanding leadership of the campaign, which helped the country reduce malaria cases by more than twenty percent between 2015-2016.
Now in its fourth year, “Zero Malaria” is ready to expand beyond the borders of Senegal, and take its innovative, inclusive approach to increasing awareness in the population at all levels of society, engaging the private sector, and making malaria elimination a priority at the the highest levels of government, to neighboring countries with the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.
On Monday, at a special luncheon during the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) conference, Speak Up Africa and its partners highlighted the achievements and opportunities of the campaign, as well as presented the plans for expansion.
“We are delighted to hear about the campaign’s expansion throughout Africa and hope to further our activities with National Malaria Control Programmes throughout the continent,” said Kabirou Mbodje, CEO and Founder of Wari, an international digital platform, born in Africa and dedicated to financial inclusion. “By sponsoring several community-based and mass communication activities, we aim to improve awareness of malaria prevention in Senegal and on the continent.”
In its new expanded phase, the campaign will support African nations in their efforts towards malaria elimination through:
- High-level engagement with government, private sector and civil society leaders: as part of the pan-African “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign, leaders will be invited to publicly pledge their support to and make concrete commitments towards malaria elimination.
- Advocating for an increase in external and domestic funding for malaria elimination: as part of the broader strategy of increasing the financial envelope for malaria, the campaign will explore innovative financial mechanisms and attract contributions from the private sector.
- Increasing awareness and ownership at the community level: broad public engagement with a focus on youth, and development of a “community malaria champions” network will be a key element of the campaign.
- Providing mission-critical support to malaria endemic countries: the campaign will support national malaria control programmes in their elimination efforts through the elaboration of a hands-on “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” toolkit and on-demand technical assistance.
During the luncheon, moderated by Ibrahima Cheikh Diong, CEO of ACT Africa Group, the importance of participation from all stakeholders–community citizens, researchers, health workers, national program managers, and government officials–was stressed.
“We need strong political leadership across levels to ensure malaria elimination remains a top health and development priority. As we’ve seen in Senegal, strong government commitment is critical for advancing progress against malaria. However, cross-national political partnerships are also essential for sharing best practices and ensuring sustained success,” remarked Philip Welkhoff, Malaria Program Director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
AU member states, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have already expressed interest in the campaign, and the RBM Partnership continues to work closely with the AU Commission and other partners on developing the campaign ahead of a planned launch during the 31st African Union Summit in Mauritania in June.
To learn more about “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” visit http://www.zeropalu.org/ (French).