1 July 2022: This week, Africa marks the fourth anniversary of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement, with 25 countries now part of the grassroots-led campaign to accelerate action on the continent to end malaria. 

The anniversary follows significant commitments from endemic countries at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), held on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2022 last week, where malaria and NTD-affected countries committed over US $2.2 billion in domestic resources as part of their Global Fund counterpart funding towards ending these diseases. End Malaria Councils and Funds from five countries (Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Namibia, Mali, and Malaw) announced a commitment to mobilizing US $100 million to support malaria control and elimination.

Launched by the African Heads of State and Government in 2018 and jointly coordinated by the African Union Commission and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Zero Malaria Starts with Me – an Africa-wide, country-led movement – looks to reinvigorate existing political commitment, accelerate action, mobilize resources and increase accountability to eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030.

The past year has seen significant momentum for the movement, with five new countries – Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Namibia, Mali, and Malawi – all adopting the campaign to drive action against malaria over the past 12 months. Further highlights include:

Country leadership and commitment has led to tremendous progress against malaria over the past two decades, with targeted investment saving an estimated 10.6 million lives and preventing 1.7 billion cases. Other key country-level achievements as part of the movement over the past year include:

25 countries in Africa are in the process of establishing national End Malaria Councils and Funds to drive multisectoral support for the fight against malaria. EMCs have mobilised millions of USD of financial and in-kind support. EMCs and Funds have raised US$23 million in additional resources towards malaria elimination, particularly from the private sector, proving themselves to be effective mechanisms to fund existing resource gaps in National Malaria Control Programmes. This is in line with HE President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy goals as Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA).

« We are at a critical juncture in the fight against malaria. Significant progress has been made with African Union Member States demonstrating strong leadership and commitment. However huge challenges remain, including mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on access to essential malaria services. African countries have increased domestic investments in the fight against malaria including mobilization of resources from the private sector. With over 45 per cent of countries having launched Zero Malaria Starts with Me, we are seeing a steady trajectory towards strengthened multi-sectoral action for increased action, resource mobilization and promotion of accountability. »

H.E. Amb Minata Samaté Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, African Union Commission said

« Over the past four years, the Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement has played a critical role in mobilizing all members of society – from governments to communities, civil society and private sector organizations – to play a part in the fight. Against the backdrop of disruptions of essential services and supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic and plateauing of funding, rapidly increasing population and widespread biological challenges such as insecticide and drug resistance, the work to eliminate these diseases has stalled and even reversed in some countries. »

« The response to COVID-19 has demonstrated African countries’ leadership and ownership in strengthening their public health systems and adapting new delivery approaches of malaria control interventions. More resources and commitments must be mobilized by all sectors so that we can all reach our goal of ending malaria. »

Dr. Corine Karema, Interim CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria

« We must increase malaria funding and expand the effort beyond the Ministry of Health and international donors, particularly by harnessing the power of the private sector. Smart and targeted investments can transform Africa’s response to malaria, and the establishment of the End Malaria Councils and Funds are an important example of how countries can cover the existing malaria funding gaps that hold us back from achieving the continental goal to end malaria by 2030. »

Elisa Desbordes-Cissé, Head of Ecobank Foundation 

« Action is essential to succeed in the elimination of malaria. It requires an enormous number of resources hence the need for public and private, internal and external partners. »

Mariam Chabi Talata, Vice-President of Benin

To find out more information about Zero Malaria Starts with Me and to access the toolkit, please visit https://zeromalaria.africa/

Ahead of the Kigali Summit of Malaria and NTDs held on the sidelines of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Speak Up Africa hosted a Twitter chat on “How to eliminate malaria and NTDs in Africa”. The discussion highlighted the work of civil society organizations involved in the March to Kigali campaign and made a case for the need to further integrate NTDs and Malaria programming into health services.

Yacine Djibo, Executive Director of Speak Up Africa, joined civil society, global health and business leaders Salomon Dopavogui, Directeur de Jeunesse Secours; Moses Sorie Kodah, Director of NAYE; Zadok Kwame Gyesi, Journalist, Graphic Online; Dr. Odry Fifonsi Agbessi, Director, Via-Me and Elisa Desbordes-Cisse, COO, Ecobank Foundation. Together, they further articulated the need to reaffirm commitments to end these entirely preventable and treatable diseases causing untold suffering and misery to billions of people.

With the deadline of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fast approaching, panelists suggested there was a need for more effective partnerships between governments, the civil society and the private sector. Furthermore, they called for the replenishment of the Global Fund and urged the government to increase spending and commitments towards an integrated approach to malaria and NTD elimination.

Zadok Kwesi tweeted :

« We should combine efforts across sectors, countries and expertise. The March to Kigali campaign builds on #NotoNTDs & #ZeroMalariaStartswithMe campaigns to collectively encourage the commitment needed to eliminate #Malaria & #NTDs by the SDGs deadline in 2030. »

Yacine Djibo tweeted :

« The Kigali Summit is a unique opportunity for global leaders to accelerate action to eliminate malaria and NTDs. By replenishing the Global Fund by a minimum of US$ 18 billion, it is projected that countries and partners can reduce malaria deaths by 62%. »

During the Twitter chat, panelists explained how ongoing activities across Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Niger, and Uganda, were contributing to eliminating malaria and NTDs. These activities ranged from community engagements and celebrity campaigns to raising awareness and training youth leaders to contribute to health advocacy.

Elisa Desbordes-Cisse tweeted :

« We launched the Zero Malaria Business Initiative where we contributed US$ 120,000 in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal and Uganda. We continue encouraging other private sector companies to join this initiative ».

Salomon Dopavogui tweeted :

« Guinea is endemic to 8 NTDs and malaria. To fight against these scourges, which are an obstacle to well-being, education and economic development, we necessarily put more emphasis on the mass distribution of drugs and mosquito nets. »

The panel called for more significant initiatives to ensure these diseases do not burden future generations, such as taking gender-inclusive approaches and involving young people to lead the charge in eliminating these diseases. 

Dr. Odry Fifonsi Agbessi tweeted :

« We must take an inclusive approach to identify, implement, monitor and evaluate malaria and NTD projects and programs while taking into account gender and the specific needs of the population (people with reduced mobility, young men and women and the elderly. »

Moses Sorie Kodah tweeted

« Young people are the change-makers who can accelerate action to eliminate #malaria & #NTDs. We train youth advocates & under the #MalariaNoMore campaign work with leading artists in Sierra Leone to produce music to raise awareness about malaria. »

Every two minutes, an African child dies from malaria. The continent accounts for over 90% of global malaria deaths and over 40 per cent of the global burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). The Kigali Summit is a historic opportunity for world leaders to reaffirm commitments to end malaria and NTDs.

The March to Kigali, a campaign led by a group of like-minded civil society organizations from across Africa and supported by Speak Up Africa has garnered the engagement of over 300 signatories. The campaign urges global leaders to prioritize the elimination of malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) at the Kigali summit, which takes place today, alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

With these diseases disproportionately affecting the vulnerable members of society and adversely impacting Africa’s economic and social development, the March to Kigali campaign garners global attention to accelerate action to end malaria and NTDs on the continent. 

Every two minutes, an African child dies from malaria. The continent accounts for over 90% of global malaria deaths and over 40 per cent of the global burden of NTDs is in Africa. Efforts to eliminate these diseases are stifled by inadequate health systems and limited programme funding coupled with less attention and prioritization on the global and regional stage. 

This Kigali Summit presents a historic opportunity for world leaders to reaffirm commitments to end these diseases and their untold suffering and misery on billions of people. Through the March to Kigali campaign, we call for domestic resource mobilization for increased and sustained resources aligned with the co-financing requirements of The Global Fund amounting to US$18 billion required to get the world back on track toward building resilient and sustainable systems for health.

« The March to Kigali campaign acknowledges the strength of the Kigali Summit in convening key decision-makers to bring united global attention to malaria and NTDs. These diseases are entirely treatable and preventable but are still a major obstacle to economic and social development in Africa, affecting the most marginalized populations. »

Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director of Speak Up Africa.

The campaign also calls for a renewed focus on integrating malaria and NTDs control and elimination. Multi-disease solutions can potentially improve healthcare system financing efficiencies with existing integration opportunities to benchmark on. For example, Senegal’s National Malaria and Control Program rationalize efforts and costs by using its platform to collect data on both diseases.

The March to Kigali campaign builds on the existing partnerships and platforms of the « No To NTDs », and « Zero Malaria Starts with Me » campaigns and aims to secure commitments from national and sub-national stakeholders to end these epidemics by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It includes political engagement, private sector engagement, civil society, and youth engagement. Civil society organizations (CSOs) from across Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, and Niger are leading the charge by increasing public awareness and political engagement in eliminating malaria and NTDs. 

In Sierra Leone, twelve leading recording artists released « Malaria e Don Wan Dae Na Mi Han », a music video about malaria prevention and treatment. Community health workers in Sierra Leone also received training to be the first line of defense against these diseases, and over 100,000 malaria rapid testing kits were distributed in Burkina Faso. Additionally, the through « Lines of Impact », initiative the campaign works with African journalists from Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo to develop quality articles on NTDs and malaria.

« Neglected tropical diseases received little attention in the media. Mass media can play a huge role in disseminating information, influencing public behavior, to ultimately curtail the spread of disease… »

Dr Charity Binka, The Executive Secretary of the African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) and country lead of the March to Kigali campaign in Ghana.

More than 300 civil society and local organizations, media outlets, and individuals across the continent have signed the ‘March to Kigali’ call to action, demonstrating the incredible commitment at the country and continental level to ending these diseases.

23 June 2022 (Kigali, Rwanda)

An open letter by the March to Kigali campaign, a civil society coalition backed by over 300 supporters, urges global leaders at the Kigali Summit on malaria and NTDs, to accelerate efforts to eliminate these entirely treatable and preventable diseases. With less than 10 years left to achieve the global sustainable development goals (SDGs), the time is now.

Health systems across Africa face significant setbacks, including inadequate human resources, poor resource allocation to health, poor maintenance of healthcare system infrastructure and lack of political will. These challenges disproportionately affect the most vulnerable members of our society and are a significant obstacle to Africa’s economic and social development. The case of malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) exacerbates such challenges. But limited attention and global health prioritization continue to stifle efforts to eliminate these treatable and preventable diseases today. 

Health data shows Africa accounts for over 40% of the global burden for NTDs, which affect 1.5 billion people worldwide. When it comes to malaria, the continent also accounts for over 90% of global malaria deaths. Furthermore, 79% of African countries are co-endemic for at least 5 NTDs, a diverse group of 20 conditions. Malaria kills an African child every two minutes, with at least 80% of deaths amongst children under five. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened this dire situation, with WHO attributing more malaria cases and deaths in 2020 on the continent due to the pandemic’s disruptions and further strain on health systems. These two diseases can also reverse past gains in controlling other diseases like AIDS and tuberculosis, which are already a massive burden to the continent.

Against this backdrop, we launched the March to Kigali campaign with the support of Speak Up Africa on World Health Day in March 2021. This campaign, led by like-minded civil society organizations across Africa, and supported by over 300 more civil society organizations, media houses, and individuals, demand that our leaders prioritize the elimination of malaria and NTDs. This call-for-action is within the context of the Kigali summit on Malaria and NTDs taking place alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on 23 June 2022.

The March to Kigali aims to stimulate political, private sector, civil society, and youth engagement and secure commitments from national and sub-national stakeholders to end these treatable diseases by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, we want to see the successful replenishment of US$18 billion for the Global Fund to get the world back on track to building resilient and sustainable systems. 

Since these diseases impact everyone in Africa, the March to Kigali campaign also targets non-Commonwealth countries in Africa, such as Guinea, Senegal, Benin, and Burkina Faso. The pan-African campaign grew organically from the existing partnerships and platforms of the « No to NTDs » and « Zero Malaria Starts with Me » movements, all aimed at ending the adverse effects of these treatable diseases on the continent. 

Organizations across the continent have made incredible strides in increasing public awareness and engagement on malaria and NTDs by bringing communities together for collective action and mobilizing society to articulate demands and voice concerns at local, national, regional and international levels. Additionally, continental-wide activities such as media campaigns, workshops and training for health workers, and donation of malaria rapid testing kits have provided an opportunity to garner local and global attention to accelerate action to end these preventable and treatable diseases across Africa. 

However, with less than ten years left to achieve the SDGs, we believe the time is now for global leaders at the Kigali Summit to commit to and accelerate action to eliminate malaria and NTDs and prioritize domestic resource mobilization to achieve 2030 WHO NTD Roadmap on NTDs.

We firmly believe that accelerated actions should also focus on integrating malaria and NTDs control and elimination programs and initiatives. Amid the various strains on our health systems, multi-disease solutions can improve the efficiencies in healthcare systems financing on the continent, with opportunities for integration or convergence interventions already existing. In West Africa, Senegal’s National Malaria Control Program demonstrates this integration by rationalizing efforts and costs to collect data on NTDs and malaria. 

We make it to the Kigali Summit after 13 months, with the unwavering support of over 300 civil society organizations and individuals who have also signed the « March to Kigali » campaign call-to-action to prioritize the fight to slow and prevent the spread of NTDs and malaria in Africa. We call on governments, civil society organizations and the private sector to work to implement all these necessary actions to protect Africans from NTDs and malaria.


Signed

Dakar, les 14 et 15 juin 2022 – Les experts de la santé en première ligne de la lutte contre le paludisme dans les États membres de l’Union africaine (UA) se sont réunis lors de la réunion du Comité consultatif d’experts d’AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) 2022, les 14 au 15 juin derniers 2022 à Dakar. Cette réunion visait à examiner les questions qui nécessitent le renouvellement d’un engagement politique de la part des chefs d’État et de Gouvernements africains.

Sur le thème « Tirer parti des interventions en matière de sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle pour accélérer les actions visant à mettre fin au VIH/SIDA, à la Tuberculose et à éliminer le Paludisme d’ici 2030. », les experts se sont entretenus sur la stratégie et le plan de plaidoyer élaborés par l’organisation à but non lucratif de communication stratégique et de plaidoyer, Speak Up Africa, pour encourager les efforts mis en œuvre dans la lutte contre le paludisme en Afrique.

L’occasion pour Speak Up Africa de mettre en lumière les progrès collectifs réalisés dans le cadre de la campagne “Zéro Palu ! Je m’engage”, lancée au Sénégal en 2014 et désormais co-dirigée par le Partenariat RBM pour en finir avec le paludisme et l’Union africaine depuis juillet 2018. À date, 23 pays africains ont lancé la campagne à l’échelle nationale alors que 5 pays, le Sénégal, le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, l’Ouganda et bientôt le Ghana, ont lancé l’initiative « Zéro Palu ! Les entreprises s’engagent » afin de renforcer un engagement concret du secteur privé en faveur de la lutte contre cette maladie entièrement évitable et traitable.

« Le paludisme n’est pas une fatalité que notre continent doit accepter. Nous pouvons faire de l’élimination du paludisme une réalité, si seulement nous reconnaissons et favorisons le rôle actif que chacun d’entre nous peut jouer, de l’individu aux secteurs public et privé » a déclaré Fara Ndiaye, Directrice exécutive adjointe de Speak Up Africa. Cette dernière en a également interpellé l’assemblée présente sur l’impact plus global du paludisme en Afrique, précisant qu’au-delà des statistiques, ce sont des vies humaines qui sont en jeu.

Lors de son allocution, Mme Ndiaye a également rendu un vibrant hommage à El Hadj Diop, ambassadeur de la lutte contre le paludisme, décédé en avril dernier, sous le regard ému de son fils, Alpha Diop et de l’assemblée. Suite au décès brutal de sa fille Ami atteinte par la maladie, El Hadj Diop avait alors décidé, il y a plus de 20 ans, de consacrer sa vie à la lutte contre le paludisme en créant l‘Association islamique Sopey Mohamed (AISM), devenue la principale source d’éducation de Thiénaba pour agir contre le paludisme. El Hadj Diop n’est plus de ce monde mais il restera dans les mémoires comme l’un des plus grands champions de la lutte contre le paludisme en Afrique.

À la fin de l’événement, les experts ont réuni dans un rapport des recommandations compilées qui seront présentées lors de la prochaine Assemblée des chefs d’États et de Gouvernements de l’Union africaine en 2023.

La Ministre de la Santé et de l’Action social de la République du Sénégal Dr. Marie Khémess Ngom Ndiaye était également présente pendant l’événement. Pour clôturer la séance, Dr. Margaret Agama-Anyetei, Directrice par intérim de la santé et des affaires humanitaires à la commission de l’Union Africaine a remercié l’ensemble des participants et a appelé l’ensemble des experts à l’action afin de pouvoir éliminer le paludisme, le VIH/SIDA et la tuberculose d’ici 2030.

Dakar, 14-15 June 2022 – Health experts on the frontline of malaria control in African Union (AU) member states met at the AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) 2022 Consultative Experts Committee Meeting on 14-15 June 2022 in Dakar. The meeting aimed to discuss matters that require renewed political commitment from African Heads of State and Government.

On the theme « Leveraging Food and Nutrition Security Interventions to fast-track actions towards ending AIDS, Tuberculosis and eliminating Malaria by 2030 », the experts discussed the strategy and advocacy plan developed by the non-profit strategic communications and advocacy organisation, Speak Up Africa, to promote efforts to fight malaria in Africa.

This was an opportunity for Speak Up Africa to highlight the collective progress made by the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” movement, launched in Senegal in 2014 and now co-led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Union since July 2018. To date, 23 African countries have launched the campaign at a national level, with five countries – Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Uganda and soon Ghana – launching the “Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative” to strengthen a concrete commitment from the private sector in the fight against this entirely preventable and treatable disease.

“Malaria is not a fatality that our continent needs to accept. We can make malaria elimination a reality, if only we recognize and enable the active role that each and every one of us can play, from the individual to the public and private sectors, » said Fara Ndiaye, Speak Up Africa’s Deputy Executive Director. She also challenged the assembly present on the more global impact of malaria in Africa, highlighting that beyond the statistics, human lives are at stake. 

During her speech, Mrs Ndiaye also paid an emotional tribute to El Hadj Diop, ambassador for the fight against malaria, who passed away last April, under the tearful eyes of his son, Alpha Diop, and the audience. Following the sudden death of his daughter Ami from the disease, El Hadj Diop decided, more than 20 years ago, to dedicate his life to the fight against malaria by creating the Sopey Mohamed Islamic Association (AISM), which has become the main source of education in Thienaba acting against malaria. El Hadj Diop is no longer with us but will be remembered as one of the greatest champions of the fight against malaria in Africa.

At the end of the event, the experts prepared a report with recommendations that will be presented at the next African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2023.

Senegal’s Minister of Health and Social Action, Dr Marie Khémess Ngom Ndiaye, also attended the event.

To close the session, Dr Margaret Agama-Anyetei, Acting Director of Health and Humanitarian Affairs at the African Union Commission, thanked all participants and called on all the experts to take action to eliminate malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis by 2030.

25 May 2022: Geneva / Johannesburg / Kigali / Lagos / London / Nairobi

A stellar cast of international changemakers have again teamed up to rally in the fight against malaria today, launching the second chapter of the multi-award-winning Draw the Line Against Malaria campaign.

In a world still reeling from the far-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with global health security and pandemic preparedness remaining at the top of world leaders’ agendas, the next chapter of the multi-award-winning campaign aims to turn up the pressure on world leaders to commit funds totaling US$18 billion at the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment in New York this Autumn.

Accounting for over half of global funding to end malaria, a fully replenished Global Fund is projected to enable countries and partners to reduce malaria deaths by 62%, treat 550 million malaria cases, and eliminate malaria from six more countries by 2026, as well as unlocking the potential of a Zero Malaria world, helping to strengthen equitable health systems and improve the lives and futures of millions of people.

Backed by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, including the World Health Organization and The Global Fund, the second phase of Draw The Line is fronted by a stellar cast of young people, activists, scientists, and stars from international footballing legend David Beckham and FC Barcelona striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, to marathon world record-holder Eliud Kipchoge and Afropop singer Yemi Aladi. 

« In addition to the innovation of new tools, we must invest in country health systems and programmes needed to ensure these tools and resources target the right people and right places, at the right time. The Global Fund plays a critical role in delivering lifesaving malaria services where they are needed most. This year, it is vital that we see a fully replenished Global Fund to get back on track and accelerate the malaria response to end this disease and strengthen health systems, creating a safer, healthier and more equal world for all »

Dr Corine Karema, Interim CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

« The World Health Organization welcome a new host of talent, scientists, youth, and champions to join the malaria fight at a crucial time when the highest number of malaria deaths have been recorded in nearly a decade and the disease is at real risk of global resurgence. Draw The Line provides a ground-breaking new platform for Africa’s most powerful narrators to change this trajectory, disrupt political apathy, and lead the fight to end this treatable and preventable disease which now kills a child nearly every minute. »

World Health Organisation
Teaming up to fight for what counts – line by line

The fast-paced new Draw The Line film, directed by Grammy-winning Ridley Scott prodigy Meji Alabi, builds on the ground-breaking momentum of the first phase of the campaign, delivering an urgent message highlighting the malaria crisis, whilst encouraging leaders that this is a fight we can win with the right arsenal of tools, strong funding commitments, and renewed political will.

« I’ve supported the malaria fight for many years and I’m proud to be part of this amazing campaign, alongside so many inspiring artists, athletes and champions from across Africa. This is a year of big opportunity and I urge leaders to recommit to ending malaria at the Kigali Summit in June and later this year by contributing at least US$18 billion to the Global Fund to create a safer, healthier, fairer world for us all. »

David Beckham 

The short film, which will be rolled out on channels and platforms across Africa, premieres at the Paramount/MTV Africa Day Concert on 28th May 2022 in Johannesburg, ahead of the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases being held on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Rwanda on 23rd June. 

The Summit is a milestone moment in the malaria fight and enabler of game-changing political decisions including delivering on the commitment to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023 and accelerate global efforts to cut malaria by 90% by 2030. It is here that the campaigns’ giant tapestry of crowdsourced artwork, made up of collective malaria ‘Muundo’ lines will be shared with world leaders

The faces of thousands of supporters from all over the world will also be projected on to the walls of the Kigali Convention Centre dome, including David Beckham delivering a personal message to world leaders, Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s keynote speech, and a dance crescendo from MTV/VMA award winning choreographer Sherrie Silver and her dance crew.

« I am proud to be a voice for this campaign at such a significant time with big decisions ahead. I caught malaria in 2021 when playing for the national team in Gabon where 100% of the population is at risk from malaria. It was a tough time, I was lucky to be able to get to a doctor, in time to make a full recovery, but so many people don’t have access to essential medical care, especially children. As a dad I find it totally unacceptable that malaria takes the life of a child every minute when it can be prevented, treated and cured. »

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang
A seminal year in the malaria fight: why now is the time to step up action

The latest World Malaria Report figures show that disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to an additional 47,000 malaria deaths between 2019 and 2020, with a total of 627,000 lives lost to malaria in 2020 – the highest number in nearly a decade. 

Children are especially vulnerable, accounting for 80% of malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa, with around 481,500 losing their lives across the Continent.

The increases in malaria cases and deaths seen in 2020 come on the back of years of plateaued funding, which has been compounded by emerging threats from the natural world, such as growing drug and insecticide resistance, as well as disruption to malaria prevention and treatment services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and other humanitarian emergencies. The fight against malaria is at a precarious juncture, and without immediate and accelerated action further ground may be lost. 

The new figures also show that malaria places an even greater burden on fragile health systems than previously thought. Underfunded and overwhelmed front line health services, coupled with weak or non-existent disease tracking systems, and high levels of existing diseases like malaria, which also presents as fever, are driving up the risk of disease ‘blind spots’ potentially concealing new infectious diseases with the ability to spread across the world.

The Draw The Line Against Malaria campaign was created by dentsu International and Black Dog Films who led the creative strategy, concept, production, and media, and developed with the RBM Partnership to End Malaria in collaboration with global malaria partners and a coalition of agencies, including the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), the African Union Commission, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Speak Up Africa, Impact Santé Afrique, Malaria No More UK, and Goodbye Malaria.

Wednesday 25 May 2022, Abidjan – One month before the Kigali Summit on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Malaria, a workshop was held in Abidjan to increase the synergy between actors involved in the fight against malaria and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Côte d’Ivoire.

Hosted by ASAPSU (Association de Soutien à l’Autopromotion Sanitaire Urbaine – Association supporting the self promotion of urban hygiene) this workshop brought together several key stakeholders including representatives from Save The Children, ROLPCI (Réseau des organisations de lutte contre le paludisme en Côte d’Ivoire – Network of Organisations Fighting Malaria in Côte d’Ivoire), CGECI (la Confédération Générale des Entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire – General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire), the Côte d’Ivoire National Assembly and Ministry of Health to coordinate partner actions and strengthen the mobilisation of funds for the fight against these preventable diseases.

On 7 April 2021, a group of civil society organisations from several West African countries, together with the non-profit organisation Speak Up Africa, launched the March to Kigali campaign. It builds on the existing partnerships and platforms of the “Say No to NTDs” and “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaigns, and aims to foster the commitments needed to achieve the elimination of these diseases by 2030, as targeted by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and malaria disproportionately affect the poorest populations and are a major impediment to economic and social development internationally. Globally, 1.5 billion people suffer from NTDs, 39% of them in Africa, and at least 5 NTDs are co-endemic in 79% of African countries. In terms of malaria, the number of cases in 2020 was estimated at 241 million and the number of deaths at 627,000, 95% of those in Africa, with 80% of mortality in children under five. 

During the first panel, the Honourable Charles Lopez, representing the Côte d’Ivoire National Assembly explained that there is no specific law on malaria and NTDs, but that in 2019 a law on the orientation of health policy was adopted to help set up infrastructures tailored to the needs of communities.

The second panel, moderated by Dr Kassi Manassé of Save the Children and Mr Agui Zadi of ROLPCI, highlighted the difficulties encountered by stakeholders in the fight against malaria and NTDs. For Dr Kassi, despite the efforts made by the Ministry of Health, to succeed in the fight against malaria several challenges must be overcome: 

Mr Agui Zadi of ROLPCI (Réseau des organisations de lutte contre le paludisme en Côte d’Ivoire) explained that his organisation was created in response to a need for coordinating malaria control activities at community level. He welcomed support from the Global Fund, the main donor in the fight against malaria, and recalled the urgency of respecting the commitments made by our governments to fight for what matters.

The CGECI (Confédération Générale des Entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire), represented by Mr N’Dri, has assured its concrete involvement in the fight against malaria by ensuring that malaria patients are cared for in enterprise health centres.

Several recommendations were made to the main actors, i.e. governments, heads of state and the Global Fund, to intensify the fight against malaria and NTDs in order to succeed.

This useful workshop ended with closing words from the Honorable Charles Lopez, who reiterated his institution’s willingness to support the fight, followed by Dr Kassi who thanked and encouraged the actors before Dr Lath Claudine from ASAPSU ended the workshop on behalf of Ms Navigue, President of the ASAPSU Board of Directors.

Join the March to Kigali campaign and sign the call to action here https://www.speakupafrica.org/fr/program/march-to-kigali/

On Wednesday, May 11, 2022, an official ceremony was held to hand over 100,000 RDTs (rapid diagnostic tests) for malaria to the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso. This donation, brought by the President of the Board of Directors of the company Univers Bio Médical, is the result of a good collaboration and a strong partnership between the company and its supplier SD BIOSENSOR INC, based in South Korea.  Mobilized alongside Ecobank Burkina and Speak Up Africa, within the framework of the initiative « Zero Malaria ! Companies are committed », the managers of Univers Bio Médical have made their commitment concrete. Worth 35,000,000 CFA francs, these RDTs are made available to the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene for the National Malaria Control Program (PNLP). This contribution aims to support the country in closing the gaps in this area. 

« As actors of the private health sector, based and operating in several countries of the sub-region, including Burkina Faso, we are fully aware of the magnitude and negative impact that malaria has on everyone and at all levels. That is why, from the very beginning, we have welcomed the Zero Malaria ! initiative and we have spared no effort to find the voices and means to contribute to it. »

Mr. Dramane COULIBALY, President of the Board of Directors of Univers Bio Médical.

Burkina Faso is one of the countries most affected by malaria. Statistics from health facilities show that malaria is the main reason for consultation, hospitalization and death. In 2021, more than 12 million people were affected with more than 4000 cases of death. 

« Today, to see this noble gesture materialize with this official delivery of 100,000 RDTs offered to the Ministry of Health by our partner Univers Bio Médical with the support of its supplier, SD BIOSENSOR INC, is a great source of satisfaction and pride. This contribution is a proof that the participation of the private sector is possible and is one of the important levers to fill a certain number of gaps of the national strategic plan to fight against malaria ».

Mr. Nomwendé KABORE, Director of Commercial Banking at Ecobank Burkina.

Dr. Robert KARGOUGOU, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, emphasized that this donation to the Ministry of Health will reinforce the enormous efforts already made by the State and its partners in the fight against this endemic, and it will contribute to the development of a more effective and efficient health system, undoubtedly contributing to saving many lives.  While thanking the donors and partners, he was pleased with the positive impact of this initiative of private sector involvement with the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene. He also reassured donors of the proper use of these RDTs which are timely at the beginning of the rainy season, a period during which many cases of malaria are recorded.

Throughout the ceremony, the speakers all reiterated a call to action to all private sector actors for a mutualization of efforts in support of the Ministry of Health for a « malaria-free Burkina Faso by 2030 ».

As a reminder, on July 2, 2020, the Ecobank Group, in collaboration with the non-profit organization Speak Up Africa and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, launched the « Zero Malaria ! Corporate Commitment » initiative. This initiative supports the « Zero Malaria ! I Pledge » campaign, endorsed by the African Union and the RBM Partnership in 2018. It aims to strengthen the efforts of African governments in the fight against malaria by mobilizing private sector companies to contribute to country efforts in the fight against malaria. The « Zero Malaria ! Businesses Get Involved » initiative, launched in Burkina Faso in April 2021, is being implemented in Benin, Senegal, and Uganda.

Pour en finir avec le paludisme, le Ministère de la Santé du Bénin et ses partenaires organisent une série d’activités de haut-niveau et communautaires pour marquer la 15ème édition de la Journée mondiale de lutte contre le paludisme.

Lancé en 2018 par 55 chefs d’états africains au 31e Sommet de l’Union Africaine, à Nouakchott, en Mauritanie, le mouvement panafricain « Zéro Palu ! Je m’engage » a significativement contribué aux progrès réalisés en matière de lutte contre le paludisme, et ce, malgré l’impact négatif de la COVID-19 sur le continent.

Pourtant, malgré les moyens préventifs et curatifs efficaces disponibles et les avancées notoires en matière de lutte antipaludique dans le monde, la région africaine de l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS) continue de payer le plus lourd tribut au paludisme et demeure celle qui enregistre le plus fort taux de mortalité. En 2020, l’organisation estimait à 241 millions le nombre de cas de paludisme dans le monde, ayant entraînés 627 000 décès. 95% des cas sont en Afrique et on dénote 96% de décès dont la majorité fait 80% chez les enfants âgés de moins de 5ans. Le nombre total de cas de paludisme rapportés en 2020 est pratiquement le même qu’en 2000.

« Au Bénin, le paludisme reste un véritable problème de santé publique. En 2020, 2.289.948 personnes ont contracté le paludisme avec 2.450 décès. Il est et demeure ainsi, la première affection qui occupe et perturbe les agents de santé dans les formations sanitaires du pays et par ricochet la première cause de décès chez les enfants de moins de cinq ans »

Dr. Cyriaque Dossou AFFOUKOU, Coordonnateur du Programme National de Lutte contre le Paludisme.

Face à la stagnation de la situation, il importe d’investir davantage dans la recherche et l’innovation avec le déploiement des nouveaux outils dans la lutte contre le paludisme tout en y veillant à un accès équitable à la prévention et au traitement et ce dans le contexte du renforcement de la résilience des systèmes de santé. L’avènementdu vaccin antipaludéen RTS’S pour les enfants apparait également comme un outil préventif complémentaire pour renforcer l’arsenal du combat pour l’élimination du fléau.

« Cette année, à travers le thème « Exploiter l’innovation pour réduire le fardeau du paludisme et sauver des vies », l’Organisation mondiale de la Santé appelle à investir et à innover pour trouver de nouvelles approches de lutte antivectorielle, de nouveaux produits de diagnostic, de nouveaux médicaments antipaludiques et d’autres outils en vue d’accélérer les progrès contre cette maladie. »

Dr Télesphore HOUANSOU, Représentant du représentant résident de l’OMS Bénin.

Pour marquer la journée mondiale de lutte contre le paludisme, déjà la veille, le 23 avril, une émission plateau télévisé organisée sur la chaine nationale ORTB a permis de dresser l’état des lieux de la maladie, d’exposer les progrès ainsi que les défis qui se posent pour son élimination. Ce débat riche a été animé par le Dr Cyriaque Dossou AFFOUKOU, Coordonnateur du Programme National de Lutte contre le Paludisme, le Pr. Gilles PADONOU, Directeur du Centre de Recherche Entomologique de Cotonou, M. Martin EDJITCHE, Directeur du projet PIHI Com (Paquet d’Intervention à Haut Impact au niveau Communautaire – USAID) à l’ONG Bupdos et Madame Eunice LOISEL, Directrice de la Banque Commerciale à Ecobank Bénin.

À Covè dans le département du Zou, le pays a organisé successivement, le 24 avril, une marche verte pour sensibiliser le public à l’impact du paludisme et plaider pour une meilleure priorisation de la maladie au niveau des collectivités territoriales puis le 25 avril, le lancement officiel de la journée couplé avec la quinzaine de mobilisation sociale. 

Le paludisme s’avère être aussi aujourd’hui un problème socio-économique. Les estimations montrent que l’Afrique perd chaque année environ 4,3 milliards de journées de travail et 1,5 milliard de journées d’école à cause du paludisme, et que la croissance du PIB est réduite de 1,3 % dans les pays où le paludisme est endémique. Le paludisme a un impact considérable sur la productivité économique, les coûts des entreprises et le développement du capital humain.

Aujourd’hui plus que jamais, la lutte contre le paludisme est l’affaire de tous : communautés, décideurs, organisations de la société civile, médias et même le secteur privé. Depuis son lancement régional en juillet 2020 par le Groupe Ecobank, Speak Up Africa et le Partenariat RBM pour en finir avec le paludisme, l’initiative « Zéro Palu ! Les entreprises s’engagent » est désormais en plein essor dans 4 pays africains : le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, le Sénégal et l’Ouganda. Les entreprises du secteur privé béninois se mobilisent pour soutenir les déficits financiers au profit de la riposte face au fléau.

A juste titre, durant tout le mois d’avril, une vingtaine d’urnes de collecte de fonds ont été déployées dans les agences d’Ecobank Bénin, à la Pharmacie Camp Guézo, sur les sites de l’université HECM, au siège de la Mutuelle pour le Développement à la Base et bien d’autres structures. Mieux des contributions financières ont été directement recueillies. C’est le cas de l’industrie pharmaceutique Pharmaquick By ABT SA qui a apporté un soutien d’un 1million et la Polyclinique St Vincent de Paul qui qu’en a elle, a soutenu le Fonds à hauteur de 500.000 fcfa. Plus loin, la Championne Dr Annabelle EKUE HOUNKPONOU a lancé la campagne « 1 employé = 1 moustiquaire » avec plusieurs officines et cliniques de la place. 

« Les entreprises qui disposent de ressources peuvent aider à combler le déficit de financement dans la lutte contre le paludisme à travers des actions sociétales directes et des outils simples pour obtenir des résultats tangibles dans l’élimination de cette maladie mortelle »

Lazare Komi NOULEKOU, Directeur Général de Ecobank Bénin et Président de l’Association Professionnelle des Banques et Etablissements Financiers du Bénin (ABEPEF).

Plus de 65 millions de FCFA ont été mobilisés à ce jour auprès des entreprises du secteur privé avec en tête Ecobank Bénin. Ces fonds viennent en complément aux nombreuses actions menées depuis près de deux années que l’initiative « Zéro Palu ! Les entreprises s’engagent » a été lancée au Bénin.

Le paludisme continue d’être un lourd fardeau pour le système de santé, et ce malgré les efforts consentis pour inverser remarquablement la tendance. À cet effet, le Gouvernement du Président Patrice TALON et les partenaires techniques et financiers (PTF) ont pris des engagements forts et historiques dans la mobilisation des ressources complémentaires pour lutter contre la maladie.

« Aujourd’hui, la lutte contre le paludisme au Bénin comporte d’importants défis à relever : la couverture élevée en moustiquaires imprégnées à longue durée d’action; la définition de nouvelles stratégies pour leur utilisation effective par la communauté, l’amélioration du traitement préventif intermittent chez les femmes enceintes et chez les nourrissons à travers le Programme Elargie de Vaccination et les campagnes de chimio prévention du paludisme saisonnier, la digitalisation des interventions, le déploiement du nouveau vaccin antipaludique RTS,S, et en définitive, l’élimination du paludisme…Face à ces nombreux défis, il urge de penser à des stratégies innovantes de mobilisation de ressources additionnelles. »

 Pr Benjamin I. B. HOUNKPATIN, Ministre de la santé.

Parce qu’aucun enfant et aucune femme enceinte ne doit mourir du paludisme, les partenaires techniques et financiers de la santé au Bénin ont réaffirmé leur engagement indéfectible à soutenir les efforts de lutte contre le paludisme en travaillant en synergie et en étroite collaboration avec le Gouvernement du Bénin, les communautés et les partenaires de mise en œuvre pour la réalisation de son ambition exprimée dans le Programme d’Action du Gouvernement (PAG2 2021-2026) qu’est d’accroître durablement le bien-être social des populations à travers l’amélioration de l’accès des populations aux services sociaux de base et à la protection sociale.

« La lutte contre le paludisme est un pilier essentiel dans la promotion du capital humain et des droits humains notamment des enfants et des femmes et représente une opportunité de lutte contre les inégalités dans le monde. Elle contribue à juste titre à la promotion de l’ODD3 qui vise à permettre à tous de vivre en bonne santé et de promouvoir le bien-être de tous et à tout âge. Je porte ici la voix de tous les Partenaires Techniques et Financiers du secteur de la santé pour réaffirmer notre engagement dans la lutte contre le paludisme »

Karl Paul FREDERICK, Représentant Résident de Plan International Bénin et Chef de file des PTF du secteur de la santé

Le Fonds Mondial est actuellement dans son 7e cycle de reconstitution qui couvrira sa mise en œuvre pour la période 2023-2025 avec comme objectif de mobiliser au moins 18 milliards de dollars américains. À l’aube de cette conférence de reconstitution des ressources du Fonds mondial et à l’occasion de cette journée mondiale, le Ministère de la Santé à travers le Programme National de Lutte contre le Paludisme, a organisé le vendredi 29 avril dernier, avec l’appui technique et financier de Speak Up Africa et en collaboration avec l’Agence des États-Unis pour le Développement International (USAID) et Ecobank Bénin, un vernissage de l’exposition photos pour plaider en faveur de lamobilisation des ressources nationales et de l’augmentation des ressources externes.

Cet évènement de haute portée a réunit des Institutions de la République, des Partenaires Techniques et Financiers, l’Instance Nationale de Coordination du Fonds Mondial (INC/FM), la Plateforme du Secteur Sanitaire Privé du Bénin, des chefs d’entreprises du Secteur privé, des Organisations de la société civile (OSC), des organisations communautaires de base (OBC), avec une forte mobilisation des médias.

Le discours d’engagement et de plaidoyer de la Vice-Présidente du Bénin a marqué les esprits. Par sa volonté, elle a dressé un chapelet de dispositions basiques pour réduire les risques de contamination tout en appelant à une mobilisation générale pour s’armer de bonne volonté, de détermination et de persévérance dans la même lutte et garder la même vision.

« C’est le combat pour la vie qui nous unit à cette exposition photos de plaidoyer…Beaucoup plus que d’autres maladies, dans le monde, un enfant meurt du paludisme toutes les trente secondes et quatre femmes enceintes décèdent faute de paludisme. Or aucun pays au monde ne peut se développer avec une population malade et l’humanité peut si elle veut en finir avec le paludisme. Toutes les actions indispensables à l’élimination du paludisme nécessitent d’énormes ressources que l’état seul ne peut mobiliser, d’où la nécessité des contributions des partenaires public et privé, internes et externes. »

« Nous invitons les entreprises à faire de leur engagement pour l’éradication du paludisme, une priorité sociale » a-t-elle ajouté.

S.E.M Mariam Chabi TALATA ZIME, Vice-Présidente de la République du Bénin

Cet évènement a permis de décerner des certificats de reconnaissance d’engagement et de mérite à trois champions Zéro Palu : Honorable AKE NATONDE, Dr ANNABELLE EKUE HOUNKPONOU et M. ESPERAT TOSSA. Rappelons enfin, que les œuvres photographiques illustrant les réalités quotidiennes liées au paludisme ont été réalisées par le photographe béninois Eddy Ostwald Aguessy.

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