Action towards Elimination: Regional Partnership Striving to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases

Action towards Elimination: Regional Partnership Striving to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases

Brazzaville, 8 February 2017

Fourteen countries set to finalize their Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Annual Plans of Action with guidance from the World Health Organization’s Expanded Special Project on the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN). ESPEN under Communicable Diseases Cluster leadership at the WHO Regional Office for Africa convened a two-day workshop with representatives of the national NTD programmes from Benin, Chad, Central African Republic, Comoros, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Sao Tome & Principe, South Sudan, Tanzania and Togo. Also participating at the workshop were representative of partners and donors- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), END FUND, International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTMH), Mectizan Donation Programme (MDP), RTI and USAID, as well as members of the Regional Programme Review Group (RPRG) and representative of the ESPEN Steering Committee.

At the opening of the two-day planning workshop that brought together representatives of national NTD programmes from 14 countries Dr Joseph Kaboré, Director of Programme Management, speaking on behalf of the Regional Director, WHO-AFRO, indicated the engagement of the RD to the success of ESPEN andmade the following comments; “To this end, I request the assistance and support of the NTD-RPRG members, who are liaison officers with participants’ countries, in order to achieve, by the end of this consultation, the development of relevant, realistic and achievable plans of action, to be implemented with the support of ESPEN, NTD-RPRG and many partners and donors who are also gathered here in support of this effort, taking into account the specific context of each country".

The meeting was mainly used to orient countries on ESPEN framework, provide technical guidance and draft the 2017 plan of action and budget. The annual plans are drafted by NTD Country Programme managers in each country and are informed by the World Health Organization’s 2020 Roadmap, Regional NTD strategic plan 2014 – 2020, a comprehensive plan to control and eliminate some NTDs by 2020. As a next step, a consensus was reached to review the draft plan with in-country partners to prioritize and identify activities for possible ESPEN support and submit it within two weeks.

The fourteen priority countries discussed their roadmap to meet the ambitious but achievable targets outlined for their 2017 programmatic year.  In order to meet their agreed 2020 goals, these 14 countries, like the rest of the NTD community, must address several broad challenges. Endemic countries expressed their need for additional human resources, robust systems and technical capacity to expand and scale up NTD prevention and control efforts, particularly as they work to integrate programmes focused on multiple diseases. Much of this work can take place with broader efforts to strengthen health systems. Investments in operational research and partnerships with the private sector can help programmes use resources as efficiently as possible to maximize the number of people reached. Improved data collection—including mapping, and monitoring and evaluation—is also required to guide programmes and enhance efficiency. Although drugs are critical tools, they are not enough to achieve all the 2020 NTD targets. The underlying causes of disease need to be addressed with cross-sector collaboration with the education, nutrition, and WASH communities. As a regional platform, ESPEN promotes the value of collaboration as partnerships with existing and new organizations can help overcome critical challenges.

“I have been energized by the demonstrable technical competence and dedication of the NTD country managers from across Africa. With leaders like these in place, I am certain that we will be able to meet our 2020 targets to control or eliminate NTDs across the continent,” said Dr. Magda Robalo, Director of Communicable Diseases Cluster at the WHO Regional Office for Africa at the closing of the workshop.

The meeting was organized in the context of the following background. More than one billion people are affected by NTDs globally. Forty percent of these are in Africa.  Neglected Tropical Diseases disproportionately affect the most vulnerable people and the poorest communities and anchor a large proportion of African people in poverty.  NTDs must be controlled and eliminated so as to contribute to the improvement of health and the reduction of grinding poverty.  Because the impact of NTDs stretches far beyond the health sector, controlling and eliminating these diseases is critical to successfully improving the economic and social wellbeing of millions of people living in marginalized communities across Africa.

ESPEN was launched in 2016 by WHO as a five-year project to help African countries reduce the burden of NTDs by offering technical and financial assistance to ensure that countries reach every individual and community with essential NTD treatment, with a current focus in five NTDs that can be prevented, controlled and eliminated through the mass administration of medicines (MMA): Lymphatic filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Soil Transmitted Helminthiasis, Schistosomiasis and Trachoma. Through ESPEN, the African region has the opportunity to accelerate progress towards the elimination of these devastating diseases. By being nested inside WHO AFRO, ESPEN is uniquely placed to bring governments and the rest of the NTD community together around multilateral partnerships in the fight against NTDs.

Through innovative partnerships and collaborative efforts, the NTD community has made important strides. Yet, to achieve WHO’s 2020 goals, all stakeholders must continue to work to secure the increased resources and political will necessary to initiate and scale up programmes to close the remaining gaps.

We're Hiring: Neglected Tropical Diseases Project Officer

Neglected Tropical Diseases Project Officer

Job Description

Headquartered in Dakar, Senegal, with an office in New York, Speak Up Africa is a creative communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, enabling policy change, securing resources and inspiring individual action for the most pressing issues to Africa’s future. By leveraging the power of the media to reach millions with life saving messages, we inspire multi-sectoral action to reduce child mortality, implement global development partnerships, and unlock resources in the public and private secto

Speak Up Africa is collaborating with the World Health Organization to eliminate neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Africa by 2020 through the Expanded Project to Eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (ESPEN). The NTD Project Officer will work directly with WHO AFRO in Brazzaville to provide technical assistance for all communications, advocacy, and resource mobilization.   

Date: Expected start date is April 2017. Minimum 40 hours per week. This is a one-year contract with a possibility of extension.

Location: This position will be based in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. The NTD Project Officer will work on the WHO AFRO compound.

Application deadline: March 5, 2017

Compensation: Commensurate based on experience.

Duties and Responsibilities:

                  Communications: 40%

  •  Support the ESPEN secretariat to prepare for institutional meetings, including but not limited to high-level international conferences, donor & steering committee meetings.
  • Develop ESPEN institutional materials (brochures, decks, etc.)
  • Draft news articles, press releases, newsletters, and other publications.
  • Engage media to ensure the promotion of ESPEN’s work across the continent.
  • Collaborate with WHO Communications team to manage the website’s content and design.
  • Manage the social media accounts and content.

                  Advocacy: 30%

  • Recruit NTD champions and manage relationships with high-level stakeholders
  • Compile success stories for storytelling around ESPEN & NTD control and elimination efforts at the national level.
  • Develop creative content and materials highlighting ESPEN’s leadership and the opportunity provided by MDA.
  • Develop creative content for countries (project implementation highlights etc.
  • Assist in creative campaign content development, including proposals and pitches to various partners and organizations.
  • Assist event planning and execution.

                  Resource Mobilization: 30%

  • Contribute to drafting of proposals and strategy documents for resource mobilization and partnerships.
  • Maintain partnerships with government, public sector, private sector, and donors
  • Support the development of country training materials to empower country program officers to mobilize domestic resources.

Qualifications:  

  • Master’s degree in International affairs, public health, or similar field
  • Must have 5 years of professional experience with 2 years of project management experience. Experience working in Africa is highly desirable.
  • Excellent writing and critical thinking skills. Must be able to distill and articulate messages clearly.
  • Self-starting, independent, and organized with an eye for presentation.
  • Able to prioritize and manage multiple activities while maintaining attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated interest in Africa and public health.
  • Proficient in PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. Photoshop or other design experience is desired.
  • Fluency in English required, proficiency in French (reading, written, & oral) a plus.
  • Must be able to travel internationally for approximately 30% of time.

Application: Please provide a resume and cover letter to Roxanne O'Connell at Roxanne.OConnell@speakupafrica.org by March 5, 2017. We will accept and review applications on a rolling basis. Please include the subject line: NTD Project Officer

Community Engagement: A Key Component to a Successful Health Campaign

Community Engagement: A Key Component to a Successful Health Campaign

 

In the context of the implementation of ACCESS SMC, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) is an essential part of an inclusive program that seeks to reduce child mortality due to malaria. SBCC is a cross-cutting component and an interactive process with communities to develop tailored IEC (Information, Education, Communication) messages and SBCC approaches using a variety of communication channels to promote healthy behaviors and sustain individual, community and societal behavior change. Effective SBCC involves the development and implementation of messages and activities and the creation of a supportive environment needed to promote and sustain behavior change.

Within ACCESS SMC, the implemented SBCC interventions are aimed at helping to increase the target communities’ adherence to SMC and their perception and understanding of malaria as well as promote care seeking attitudes and behaviors that will have a positive effect on families’ lives. All malaria control interventions, and SMC in particular, are interventions with a strong community engagement component.

Community engagement is defined by the World Health Organization as “a process by which people are enabled to become actively and genuinely involved in defining the issues of concern to them, in making decisions about factors that affect their lives, in formulating and implementing policies, in planning, developing and delivering services and in taking action to active change.” Involving community stakeholders in the development and implementation of malaria prevention programs can be a challenging, resource-intensive, and often frustrating process. However, it can also be a highly creative, energizing, and rewarding experience leading to significant improvements in program design and outcomes. For example, research has shown that in programs that involve high levels of community participation and control, there is greater participation in health improvement activities. Community engagement also builds “social capital” (social ties, networks, and support) which is associated with better community health and well-being. Finally, participatory decision-making can uncover and mobilize community assets, strengths, and resources that would have been otherwise overlooked.

Madaoua, located in the valley of Tarka, in the region of Tahoua, Niger, is malaria endemic. In this region, live the Gobir Toudou, a community marked by a long history of migration and a very hierarchical organization. At the very top of their societal structure is a traditional leader, the Chief Gobir Toudou, Mr. Manirou Magagi, assisted in his governance by a council of high dignitaries. Within ACCESS SMC, the Chief has been instrumental since the inception of the intervention in Madaoua in 2015. He has been a powerful advocate of this community-based health intervention.

“We have all seen Chief Gobir Toudou take ownership of this campaign. We have seen his efforts to raise awareness. He brought together all the marabouts, neighborhood leaders, community leaders to encourage them to help educate mothers on malaria prevention and ensure they protect their children from malaria. Since 2015, he has been bringing together heads of household, mothers and even goes from door to door to inform mothers of the distribution and urge them to take their children to the distribution sites. He sits on his doorstep (his home is located next to the distribution site), to watch and follow from a distance those who bring their children and asks about those who did not come" said Mohamed Waziri, Gobir Toudou Deputy Chief.

Such implication of local leaders reminds us that before individuals and communities can reduce their level of risk or change their behaviors, they must first understand basic facts about malaria and SMC, adopt key attitudes, learn a set of skills and be given access to appropriate products and services. They must also perceive their environment as supporting behavior change and the maintenance of positive behaviors, as well as supportive of seeking appropriate treatment for malaria prevention and care. Thanks to a thorough planning process, we can enable local leaders to become champions by building their capacity to participate in demand-driven health programs. The ultimate goal of community engagement within the context of ACCESS SMC is to impact conditions that influence the health of children under 5 and contribute to communities’ health.  

 

By-line: Fara Ndiaye

Nous recherchons un(e) responsable de programmes

Nous recherchons un(e) responsable de programmes

Contexte

Speak Up Africa, dont le siège social est situé à Dakar, au Sénégal, est une organisation de communication et de plaidoyer pour la santé et le développement durable. Speak Up Africa vise à dynamiser le leadership africain en faveur d’une réorientation positive des politiques publiques, la mobilisation des ressources nationales au profit du développement local et enfin le renforcement de l’action individuelle essentielle pour que le continent soit en mesure de faire face aux défis les plus urgents auquel il est confronté.

Tout comme les Objectifs de développement durables (ODD) ont succédé aux Objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement (OMD), symbole de l’engagement international pour la lutte contre les décès évitables d’enfants et pour la transformation des sociétés, Speak Up Africa œuvre pour la promotion de ce leadership africain et pour le transfert de responsabilité vers les populations africaines. Nous sommes fondamentalement convaincus qu’il incombe à nos dirigeants et à nos communautés de mener le progrès et non aux partenaires financiers de décider de l’agenda continental. Les ODD désormais en vigueur, notre continent doit s’engager sur les plans financier, politique et communautaire afin d’accroître son leadership et sa participation à cet effort mondial.

Responsabilités et tâches à accomplir

Le Responsable des programmes sera placé sous la supervision de la Directrice exécutive adjointe. Il a pour principales tâches d’assurer la planification, la mise en œuvre et le suivi des programmes de Speak Up Africa. Il est attendu du Responsable des programmes qu’il travaille en étroite collaboration avec les différents départements de Speak Up Africa, ainsi qu’avec ses partenaires externes.

Plus précisément, le Responsable des programmes :

§  Coordonne l’action des Chargés de programmes sous sa supervision.

§  Consolide les rapports mensuels, trimestriels, semestriels et annuels des partenaires de mise en œuvre, analyse les écarts et veille l’application des mesures correctrices.

§  Veille à soumettre des rapports techniques conformes aux exigences de la Direction exécutive et des partenaires de mise en œuvre des projets.

§  Participe à la supervision de la mise en œuvre des projets de concert avec les Chargés de programmes.

  • Prépare des notes conceptuelles, éditoriaux et autres écrits pour documenter les programmes de Speak Up Africa, de leur conception à leur mise en œuvre effective.
  • Collabore avec la Directrice exécutive adjointe et l’équipe de communication pour la diffusion de contenus liés aux programmes et à la proposition de valeur de Speak Up Africa. 
  • Prépare des notes synthétiques pour rendre compte de la mise en œuvre des programmes.

§  Identifie les difficultés rencontrées dans la préparation, l’exécution des projets et met en œuvre des mesures correctrices.

§  Assure le respect du cadre logique d’action de Speak Up Africa.

§  Participe à l’évaluation des besoins et au renforcement des capacités du personnel et des partenaires de mise en œuvre.

§  Exploite les rapports soumis par les Chargés de programmes et procède à un feedback auprès de la Directrice exécutive adjointe.

§  Participe à la préparation des réunions techniques de coordination.

§  Participe au suivi et à l’évaluation des performances programmatiques et celles du personnel technique placé sous sa supervision.

§  Encadre et accompagne les collaborateurs et les partenaires de mise en œuvre dans l’exécution des activités court, moyen et long terme.

§  Veille à l’assurance qualité des données en collaboration avec les Chargés de programmes.

Descriptif du profil recherché

§  Une formation universitaire de niveau maîtrise en sciences sociales est requise.

§  Aptitude au travail en équipe.

§  Avoir une expérience avérée en matière de gestion de projets dans des domaine tels que la santé publique et le développement durable.

  • Avoir des aptitudes en communication et pour le travail en équipes multidisciplinaires et multilingues.
  • Avoir une grande capacité d'organisation, de synthèse et de rédaction de rapports.
  • Avoir un excellent niveau de langue parlée et écrite en français et en anglais.
  • La pratique usuelle des outils et logiciels informatiques de bureau et de communication électronique.

Candidature

Merci de soumettre vos candidatures à l’adresse suivante : info@speakupafrica.org. L’email doit obligatoirement porter la mention suivante : « Candidature – Responsable des programmes ».

 

 Historic Commitment from African Heads of State to Advance Immunization in Africa

Historic Commitment from African Heads of State to Advance Immunization in Africa

31 January 2017, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Today, Heads of State from across Africa endorsed the Addis Declaration on Immunization, also known as the Ministerial Declaration on Universal Access to Immunization, a historic and timely pledge to ensure that everyone in Africa – regardless of who they are or where they live – receives the full benefits of immunization. The endorsement was issued during the 28th African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

While Africa has made impressive gains over the last 15 years toward increasing access to immunization, progress has stagnated, and the continent is falling behind on meeting global immunization targets. One in five children in Africa still does not receive basic life-saving vaccines and, as a result, vaccine-preventable diseases continue to claim too many lives. Measles alone accounts for approximately 61,000 preventable deaths in the African region every year.

 “We know that universal access to immunization is achievable,” noted outgoing African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. “The Addis Declaration on Immunization is a historic pledge. With political support at the highest levels, we are closer than ever to ensuring that all children in Africa have an equal shot at a healthy and productive life.” 

The Addis Declaration on Immunization calls for countries to increase political and financial investments in their immunization programmes. It includes 10 commitments, including increasing vaccine-related funding, strengthening supply chains and delivery systems, and making universal access to vaccines a cornerstone of health and development efforts. The full declaration can be found below.

“Vaccines are among the most effective public health tools available,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “When children are given a healthy start, communities thrive and economies grow stronger. This show of support from Heads of State is a significant step forward in our efforts to achieve universal access to immunization and, ultimately, improve child health and drive sustainable development across Africa.”

Fewer than 15 African countries fund more than 50% of their national immunization programmes. As Africa nears polio eradication, critical funding for immunization through the polio eradication programme is expected to ramp down. Additionally, countries approaching middle-income status will transition away from Gavi support for immunization in the coming years. Consequently, governments must redouble their efforts to make universal immunization coverage a national priority. 

“As long as even one child in Africa lacks access to immunization, our work remains unfinished,” said Dr Ala Alwan, outgoing WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean. “With the right mix of political will, financial resources and technical acumen, Africa can – and will – stem the tide of vaccine-preventable diseases across the continent.”

With strong leadership and investment, increased access to immunization is within reach. For example, in 2010, Ethiopia built 16,000 new health centres, purchased 2,000 battery-free solar refrigerators for vaccine storage, and built a network of millions of health extension workers and volunteers at community level to increase access to immunization throughout the country. Since these investments were made, Ethiopia has made remarkable gains, with immunization rates soaring from 61% in 2010 to 86% in 2015.

“Immunization is one of the smartest investments a country can make in its future,” said H.E. Professor Yifru Berhan Mitke, Ethiopia’s Minister of Health. “We must do more to protect all our children from preventable diseases – not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it makes economic sense. When our children are healthy, our families, communities and countries thrive.”

The Addis Declaration on Immunization was signed by Ministers of Health and other line ministers at the Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa (MCIA) in February 2016 in Addis Ababa. MCIA was the first-ever ministerial-level gathering with a singular focus on ensuring that children across the continent can access life-saving vaccines. To guide the implementation of the ADI, a roadmap is being developed in close collaboration with the WHO offices in the African Region and Eastern Mediterranean Region, the African Union Commission and immunization partners.

“African leaders are showing outstanding leadership by endorsing this landmark commitment which will allow more African children to be reached with life-saving vaccines no matter where they live,” said Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance board. “We must now ensure that the commitments translate into sustainable financing for immunization. Gavi stands ready to support African countries in their efforts to implement equitable health approaches and maintain strong immunization coverage so we can create together a more prosperous future for communities across our continent.”

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For more information, please contact:

African Union Commission

Wynne Musabayana

Head of Communication Division

musabayanaw@africa-union.org


WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO)                                    

Collins Boakye-Agyemang                                                                                    

Regional Communications Adviser                                                                  

boakyeagyemangc@who.int                                                                               

 

WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO/EMRO)

Rana Sidani                                                                                                                 

Senior Communications Officer                                                                         

sidanir@who.int                                                                                                         

 

                                                                                                                    

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The Addis Declaration on Immunization (Full Text)

We, African Ministers of Health, Finance, Education, Social Affairs, Local Governments attending the Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa, which took place from 24 to 25 February 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and convened by the World Health Organization in collaboration with the African Union Commission, are committed to continued investment in immunization programs and a healthy future for all people of the African continent.

Recognizing the tremendous advances that are improving the health of Africa’s citizens, including:

  • A 50% decline in child death rates, and ever-growing numbers of children attending school;
  • Widespread access to vaccines that were not available to African children and adults just a decade ago;
  • Higher vaccine coverage rates across the continent in each five-year periods between 1999-2014;
  • The remarkable achievement of the Africa continent for interrupting wild poliovirus transmission for more than one year; achieving near elimination of Meningococcal meningitis A epidemics, and the significant reduction in disease burden and mortality due to measles.

Bearing in mind the recently ratified Sustainable Development Goal target of Universal Health Coverage which calls for access to immunisation for all (New York, September 2015); and that health is fundamental to social and  economic development;

Acknowledging that broad-based, inclusive growth in Africa is dependent on a healthy population; and that strong immunization programs are a cornerstone of robust systems that help achieving universal health coverage, which is critical to helping national leaders achieve their economic and development goals;

Reaffirming the economic imperative and benefits of reducing vaccine-preventable diseases and consequential deaths, which will improve overall health, empower our future generation and allow every person to achieve his or her full potential;  

Recalling the Heads of State Declaration on Polio Eradication in Africa: “Our Historic Legacy to Future Generations” (Johannesburg, June 2015); the World Health Assembly resolution (WHA68.6) on the Global Vaccine Action Plan (Geneva, May 2015), the commitment made by African Ministers of Health on Universal Health Coverage in Africa (Luanda, April 2014); the Immunize Africa 2020 Declaration (Abuja, May 2014) endorsed by African Heads of State; the World Health Assembly resolution that commits all 194 Member States to apply the vision and strategies of the Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) (Geneva, May 2012), and the African Heads of State endorsement of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan in 2012 as the framework for African people to have access to essential, quality, safe and effective medical products and technologies.

Recognizing that despite progress, universal access to immunisation by 2020, as endorsed under the GVAP, is largely off track in Africa as indicated by the 2014 GVAP report; but that with resolve we can still achieve the GVAP target of at least 90% coverage in our countries and at least 80% coverage in every district for all nationally available vaccines;  

Admitting that to sustain the progress made in vaccine introduction and coverage – and achieve the full potential to save children’s and adult’s lives – current national budgetary allocations to vaccination programmes within the context of national health systems financing will need to be further increased;

We hereby collectively and individually commit ourselves to:

  • Keeping universal access to immunisation at the forefront of our efforts to reduce child mortality, morbidity and disability, and in doing so help our countries achieve their long-term health, economic and development goals;
  • Increasing and sustaining our domestic investments and funding allocations, including innovative financing mechanisms, to meet the cost of traditional vaccines, fulfil our new vaccine financing requirements, and providing financial support for the operational implementation of immunization activities by EPI programs;
  • Addressing the persistent barriers in our vaccine and healthcare delivery systems, especially in the poorest, vulnerable and most marginalized communities, including the strengthening of data collection, reporting and use at all levels as well as building effective and efficient supply chains and integrated procurement systems;  
  • Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency, as well as changing the approaches as needed, of our immunization delivery systems as an integrated part of strong and sustainable primary health care systems;
  • Attaining and maintaining high quality surveillance for targeted vaccine preventable diseases.
  • Monitoring progress towards achieving the goals of the global and regional immunization plans
  • Ensuring polio legacy transition plans are in place by end-2016 that will allow future health programs to benefit from the knowledge and expertise the polio program has generated through the eradication initiative;
  • Developing a capacitated African research sector to enhance immunization implementation and uptake;
  • Building broad political will, working with communities, civil society organizations,  traditional and religious leaders, health professional associations and parliamentarians, for the right of every child and every community to have universal access to life-saving vaccines, and by extension the best possible chance for a healthy future;
  • Promoting and investing in regional capacity for the development and production of vaccines in line with the African Union Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan including the strengthening of national regulatory authorities.  

We call upon:

  • Member states and partners, including African development banks and African regional economic communities, to support the implementation of this Declaration, and to increase their efforts to mobilize resources and secure new investments to strengthen national immunization programmes to achieve the GVAP goals and overall health care delivery systems in the Member States;
  • Member states and partners, to negotiate with vaccine manufacturers to facilitate access to available vaccines at affordable prices, and in increasing price transparency as well as developing price databases in line with resolution WHA68.6; 
  • Gavi, the vaccine alliance to consider refugees and internally displaced populations as eligible recipients of Gavi support for vaccines and operational costs;
  • The World Health Organization and the African Union Commission to support member states to share experiences, strengthen capacity, and establish mechanisms for monitoring progress towards the fulfilment of these commitments.

We thank his Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and host country for this Ministerial Conference on Immunization in Africa, for agreeing to champion this declaration and further request him to present it to the African Heads of States at the 26th Summit of the African Union, to be held in June 2016.

African Leaders Hailed as Countries Make Gains Against Malaria

African Leaders Hailed as Countries Make Gains Against Malaria

Eight countries recognized for efforts to reduce malaria incidence and deaths  

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (30 January 2017) – At a time of historic progress toward a malaria-free Africa, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) honored eight African countries that have shown commitment and innovation in the fight against the disease.

Today at the 28th Africa Union Summit, the 2017 ALMA Awards for Excellence were awarded to:

·       Botswana, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda, for their impact on malaria incidence and mortality;

·       Chad, for its leadership in the fight against malaria.

"Thanks to strong African leadership and innovative new partnerships, we are making unprecedented progress in the fight against malaria," said H.E Idriss Déby Itno, President of Chad and current Chairperson of the African Union. “The success of these countries shows the powerful impact that dedication and sufficient funding can have.”  

The ALMA Awards for Excellence recognise countries for their significant achievements in malaria control and elimination. Botswana, Cabo Verde, Comoros, DRC, Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda have all achieved a reduction in malaria incidence of 40 percent or more from 2010-2015. The significant reduction in malaria in the three high-burden countries (DRC, Ethiopia and Uganda) demonstrates what can be achieved with political commitment, adequate financing and implementation of technically sound and evidence-based vector control and case management interventions, even where malaria transmission is high. Botswana, Cabo Verde, Comoros and Swaziland are commended for sustaining the gains previously made between 2000-2010. The World Health Organization (WHO) said they are all on track to eliminate malaria by 2020.

“We are turning the tide on malaria in Africa,” said Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of ALMA. “The success is reflected in the countries ALMA honoured today. Our work is not done. We must remain focused to achieve our goal of a malaria-free Africa."

The 2017 ALMA Awards for Excellence come just six months after the adoption of the ‘Catalytic Framework’ at the 27th African Union Summit last July. The framework provides a roadmap for African countries to increase domestic resources, expand the use of innovation and technology, and improve health infrastructure to eliminate malaria from the continent by 2030.

“Congratulations to the winners. I welcome ALMA’s continued partnership in the fight to end malaria,” said Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission. Further, he said, “In this regard, the Catalytic Framework is providing strategic direction to guide countries to achieve malaria control and elimination.”

Since 2000, malaria mortality rates accross the continent have fallen by 62 percent in all age groups and by 69 percent among children under five. The increase in those sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal nets, or protected by indoor residual spraying, as well as diagnostic testing of children and treatment of pregnant women has contributed to significantly lowering incidence and mortality in Africa. These achievements come at a time when African countries are providing more domestic funding to fight malaria.

The growing role of African leaders is also reflected in the recent formation of the End Malaria Council, a group of committed business and public sector leaders that has come together to ensure malaria eradication remains a global priority. Five of the nine leaders on the council are African: H.E Idriss Déby Itno, President of Chad;; H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia and former ALMA Chair;; H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania and founding ALMA chair;; Graça Machel, Founder of Foundation for Community Development; and Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of the Dangote Group. The council will explore innovative approaches to mobilize political will and resources and develop new tools to help end malaria.

ALMA will also be working closely with the new Roll Back Malaria Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, former Minister of Health of Ethiopia. 

Malaria remains a critical threat in Africa – the region still bears the highest global malaria burden. In 2015, 195 million of the 212 million new malaria cases and 394,000 of the world’s 429,000 malaria-related deaths were in Africa.

About Alma

Founded in 2009, ALMA is a ground-breaking coalition of African Heads of State and Government working across country and regional borders to achieve a malaria-free Africa by 2030. All African Union member countries are members of ALMA. The ALMA Scorecard for Accountability & Action is an important tool, which tracks progress and drives action.

The ALMA Awards for Excellence celebrate exemplary leadership in malaria control and elimination efforts. The Awards are chosen by an independent selection committee comprised of leaders and experts in the areas of health, academia and the private sector.

For more information, visit www.alma2030.org

About the African Union 

The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision: to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission.  

For more information, visit www.au.int/

For media enquiries, please contact

Dr. Adiel Mushi, Malaria Focal Person, African Union Commission

Email: mushia@africa-union.org

Tel: +251 962 4 88800

Cooper Gatewood, Portland

CommunicationsEmail: cooper.gatewood@portland-communications.com

Ethiopia Tel: +251 (0) 9292 28408Tel: +44 (0) 20 7554 1721

Saleemah Abdul-Ghafur

ALMA Email: saleemah@alma2030.org

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Advocating for Leprosy Elimination from the Streets of Dakar

Advocating for Leprosy Elimination from the Streets of Dakar

Omar Sow is 55 years old and lives on the streets of Dakar, alongside 60 other people suffering from leprosy. Prior to getting sick in 1973, Omar used to work in agriculture in his hometown of Tivaouane, located at 80 km from the capital city of Senegal. Because of the disability caused by his illness, Omar was no longer able to work in the crop fields and moved to Dakar to try and make ends meet. In 1987, he was able to get treated and is disease free today.  

Leprosy is curable with multi drug therapy (MDT) and treatment provided in the early stages averts disabilityToday, Omar still lives in the streets as he has not been able to find a job because of his disability and because of the stigma associated to it.  Omar's faith continues to allow him to dream that he will be able to find a job caring for chickens in order to provide for his 14 years old son who is still in school as his disability no longer allows him to work with his hands.    

In the meanwhile, Omar continues to advocate for people living with the disease by participating as much as he can in awareness raising activities led by local NGOs. His end goal is to actively contribute to the disease elimination while reducing the stigma associated with Leprosy. He strives for his community to know that Leprosy is a curable disease and that one can still aspire living a decent and dignified life after treatment.

CAF and African Football Stars Join Forces to Promote Immunisation for Children During 2017 Total Africa Cup of Nations

“Africa United” campaign highlights power of vaccination to save children’s lives in Africa  


Libreville, Gabon, 27 January 2017 – Football heroes Anthony Laffor, Geofrey Massa and Denis Onyango star in new ‘Every Shot Counts’ TV, radio and print ads, which urge parents to vaccinate their children to protect them from life-threatening diseases. Africa United, an official social cause of 2017 TotalTM Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament, has teamed up with the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) and public health partners to raise awareness of the importance of immunisation for children to tackle preventable diseases, and achieve universal immunisation coverage across the continent.

“We know that football unites people from all across Africa and beyond,” said Issa Hayatou, President of CAF. “CAF is committed to using the power of football to ensure our players, future players, and most importantly, our fans, lead healthy lives. By supporting ‘Every Shot Counts,’  together, we can help ensure millions of African children are immunised by 2020.”

Vaccination saves between two and three million lives every year. However, one in five African children still don’t have access to basic life-saving vaccines and vaccine-preventable diseases remain the most common cause of childhood mortality. The ‘Every Shot Counts’ vaccination campaign, launched in 2016, is an initiative of Africa United, a platform that leverages sport to catalyse action on health, led by CAF and the African Union. Partners include the World Health Organization (WHO) AFRO, CDC Foundation, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, PATH, Special Olympics International, Lions Clubs International Foundation and the World Bank Group.

“Immunisation helps ensure that all individuals start out on an equal playing field in terms of their health,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “Every eligible individual should be immunised with all appropriate vaccines. We are grateful to CAF for their leadership in leveraging the power of sport to bring life-saving messages about the value of vaccines to countries and communities across Africa.”

“Africa’s children are Africa’s future,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “If every child receives the vaccines they need, they will be better protected against deadly diseases and can grow up to be healthy and productive adults, making vaccination one of the most cost-effective investments in history. In using the power of football to promote immunisation, this campaign is not only saving lives, but also ensuring a brighter future for Africa.”

“The ‘Every Shot Counts’ campaign provides us with an unparalleled platform to reach audiences with life-savings messages to better protect the health of Africa’s children,” said Chloe Tonney, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer, CDC Foundation.

The new Africa United announcements, reinforcing the importance of child vaccination, are airing in-stadia during the 2017 AFCON tournament and throughout Africa on TV and radio, including by Africa United partner, SuperSport, and can be viewed on Africa United’s website.

About The Confédération Africaine de Football
The Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) is an international non-governmental organization and the football governing body in Africa. It is currently running 11 competitions amongst which the African Cup of Nations (CAN) and the African Nations Championship (CHAN). CAF was founded in 1957. It has a membership of 54 National Associations. The headquarters is located in Cairo, Egypt. For more information: www.cafonline.com.

About Africa United
Africa United is a platform that leverages sport to catalyse action on health, led by the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) and the African Union. Partners include the World Health Organization (WHO) AFRO, CDC Foundation, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, PATH, Special Olympics International, Lions Clubs International Foundation, World Bank Group, African leaders, international health bodies, private companies, celebrities, NGOs and other multi-sector actors. Africa United was originally created and deployed in West Africa by KYNE and Speak Up Africa to rebuild trust in healthcare workers during the Ebola crisis. The campaign reached millions of people in West Africa via partnerships with CAF, celebrity footballers, local media, local and international health authorities. To learn more, please visit www.WeAreAfricaUnited.org.

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Media Contacts:
Africa United: Michael Grela, +241 063 412 84; mgrela@KYNE.com
CAF: Junior Binyam, +241 020 741 35; junior.binyam@cafonline.com