In Senegal to the United Kingdom, from Geneva to Addis Ababa (and everywhere in between), April was a busy month for malaria champions globally

3 mai 2018

Mosquitos beware. Malaria champions across the globe are #ReadytoBeatMalaria, and have been convening in huge numbers to recommit to the fight. With one goal in mind–save lives–they are meeting the challenge together.

 Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), Joy Phumaphi, during the opening ceremony of the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan African Malaria Conference that took place in Diamniadio, Senegal from 15-20 April 2018. Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), Joy Phumaphi, during the opening ceremony of the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan African Malaria Conference that took place in Diamniadio, Senegal from 15-20 April 2018.

“This month has seen world leaders come together to renew commitments to step up funding and speed up innovations against the disease. It has been a truly momentous time in the fight against malaria, but the battle is not yet won. We also need citizen and community action around the world to drive momentum towards reaching global targets,” reminded Dr. Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, RBM Partnership to End Malaria Board Chair.

The month’s activities started in Senegal, where more than 2,000 scientists, researchers, health professionals, program managers and government officials, from more than 70 countries, gathered from 15-20 April for the 7th Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan African Malaria Conference.

The largest scientific conference focusing on the global fight to eliminate malaria, MIM focused on new research in malaria surveillance, diagnostics, drugs, vector control, vaccines and health systems, and how these tools can be used to accelerate the fight against malaria, both globally and within sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, panel discussions, workshops and keynote speeches discussed the tremendous progress made over the past two decades, as well as addressing the challenges to achieving complete elimination.

Also taking place as the same time as MIM in Senegal, was the 2018 London Malaria Summit, on 18 April, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the United Kingdom. Organized by Malaria No More in conjunction with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and supported by British Prime Minister Theresa May, the summit united 14 heads of state and governments, scientists, private sector and international organisations to make game-changing commitments towards beating malaria.

Summit participants made high-level political commitment towards malaria elimination, significant increase in investment from malaria endemic countries to leverage and complement donor funding, new innovative tools to overcome the growing threat of resistance, and improved methods to track disease to enable more effective and efficient intervention and to prevent resurgence. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria also pledged $2 billion to invest in 46 countries affected by malaria between 2018-20.

All of these activities were a lead up to the biggest day dedicated to #endmalaria, World Malaria Day, on Wednesday, 25 April 2018. An initiative herald by RBM Partnership to End Malaria, World Malaria Day, is an internationally recognised day, now in its tenth year, highlighting the global efforts to control malaria and celebrating the gains that have been made at a time when global malaria cases are on the rise for the first time in a decade.

“After a decade of success in pushing back malaria, it is on the rise again and will come back with a vengeance if we do not act decisively now,” warns Dr. Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

 In Geneva, Senegalese Minister of State, Prof. Awa Coll-Seck giving the keynote address at the World Malaria Day event organized by the RBM Partnership, the Swiss Malaria Group and the Global Health Centre . (Photo: Thomas Gass) In Geneva, Senegalese Minister of State, Prof. Awa Coll-Seck giving the keynote address at the World Malaria Day event organized by the RBM Partnership, the Swiss Malaria Group and the Global Health Centre . (Photo: Thomas Gass)

To mark the tenth World Malaria Day, the RBM Partnership, in collaboration with the Swiss Malaria Group and the Global Health Centre organized an event entitled, “How ending malaria transforms the world?”, in Geneva. Senegalese Minister of State, Prof. Awa Coll-Seck gave the keynote address, followed by a panel discussion exploring the challenges and ways forward in reaching the 2030 SDG goal of ending the epidemic. Prof. Coll-Seck, Dr. Kesete Admasu, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, xxx Marina Carobbio Guscetti, Vice-President of the Swiss National Council, xxx Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, Ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, xxxx Thomas Gass, Ambassador and Vice-Director Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and xxx Minghui Ren, Assistant Director General for Communicable Diseases, World Health Organization presided on the panel moderated by xxx Christian Lengeler, President, Swiss Malaria Group.

The African Union also took bold steps towards the elimination of malaria across the continent. In a public statement released on World Malaria Day, H. E. Mrs. Amira El Fadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission, announced plans to jointly launch, with the RBM Partnership, the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign across Africa. The public-facing campaign for a malaria-free Africa will provide high-level engagement with government, private sector and civil society leaders, inviting them to publicly pledge support to and make concrete commitments towards malaria elimination. The campaign will also advocate for an increase in external and domestic funding for malaria elimination, increase awareness and ownership at the community level and provide mission-critical support to malaria endemic countries. First launched in Senegal, in 2014, as a national malaria elimination mobilization campaign, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” helped the country reach a more than 20% decline in malaria-related deaths between 2015-2016.

 Attendees at the official World Malaria Day ceremony in Senegal. In April, H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal, received the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Award for Excellence for his outstanding leadership in implementing the national mobilization campaign, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” and reducing malaria cases in Senegal by more than twenty percent between 2015-2016. Attendees at the official World Malaria Day ceremony in Senegal. In April, H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal, received the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) Award for Excellence for his outstanding leadership in implementing the national mobilization campaign, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” and reducing malaria cases in Senegal by more than twenty percent between 2015-2016.

Monthly activities were wrapped up in with an official World Malaria Day ceremony in Senegal on 28 April. Hosted by Senegal’s National Malaria Control Program, champions in the fight against malaria in Senegal were recognized.

« We are committed to the elimination of malaria in 2030 in our country and these goals are quite elusive, » said Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, Minister of Health and Social Action of Senegal, confirming that Senegal–like many countries and champions around the world–is ready to defeat malaria!

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