Senegal calls upon its population to cross the finish line and eliminate malaria

April 25, 2014 on World Malaria Day, Senegal marked the success of decades of combined efforts from individuals, public and private sectors in the fight against one of the deadliest, yet most preventable and treatable diseases still affecting millions each year, malaria. In the past ten years, Senegal reduced malaria mortality rates by 62% and saved almost 30,000 children's lives.

While the fight continues, a movement for new dedication is beginning in Senegal. Zero Malaria! Count me in! ("Zero Palu! Je m’engage!" in French) is a new, innovative campaign designed to give ownership in the fight against malaria to every Senegalese citizen. This inclusive mass communication campaign aims to launch a national movement in favor of malaria elimination in Senegal. The campaign will help mobilize key champions, identify and empower leaders to help create and grow malaria free zones while building commitment to a malaria-free Senegal.

Launched at the second consecutive ‘Jambars’ (Champions) event in Senegal just days before World Malaria Day, well over 300 members of the private and public sectors, including The Honorable Awa Marie-Coll Seck, Senegal's Minister of Health, Mme. Anta Sarr Diacko, the Minister of Women, and leaders from the community, joined together to stand side by side to support the fight for a malaria-free Senegal. Each enthusiastically and supportively wore their "Zero Palu! Je m’engage" pin, as they stood alongside leaders who echoed the same promise. Also featured at the event was the traveling "Zero Malaria! Count Me In! photo exhibition, featuring everyday malaria champions from the community and leaders from all sectors.

It is country ownership of malaria as a health priority that will buttress our win in the malaria fight. “We engage today more than yesterday the reinforcement of Senegalese efforts to put at the disposition of each Senegalese man and woman, the effective ways of prevention and treatment against malaria” TH Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Minister of Health and Social Welfare.

Each individual’s promise to invest in the health and safety of themselves and their families counts. In addition, all must contribute to the mobilization of the domestic resources that can support the malaria effort in the long run and push Senegal to become malaria-free.

Zero Malaria! Count Me In! aims to create a national policy environment that enables the introduction of new approaches and strategies for malaria parasite elimination as a part of the national strategy.  The ultimate goal of the campaign is for evidence generated in Senegal to inform national policy and practice for malaria parasite elimination and to mobilize resources. It will engage citizens via blogs, statements, photos, testimonials, m-health related programs and key multi-sectoral partnerships to bring home the fact that we are at a critical moment in time where all needs to be invested in order not to lose all the progress we have made over the last decade.