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

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/

Dans le cadre de la campagne « En Marche vers Kigali », Speak Up Africa en partenariat avec le Programme National de Lutte contre les MTN (PNLMTN), le Programme National de Lutte contre le Paludisme (PNLP) et l’ONG Jeunesse-Secours a officiellement lancée ce vendredi 1er avril 2022. La cérémonie a été présidée par le ministre de la santé et de l’hygiène Dr Mamadou Pathé Diallo.

La campagne « En Marche vers Kigali » a été initiée en avril 2021 à la faveur de la préparation du sommet des chefs de gouvernement du Commonwealth à Kigali reporté pour raison du COVID-19. Elle contribuera aux efforts sous régionaux (Afrique de l’Ouest et du centre) de plaidoyer et de communication visant à renforcer l’engagement politique et à augmenter les ressources nationales pour les MTN et le paludisme.

Plus précisément les objectifs de la campagne sont : accroitre la sensibilisation et l’engagement du public sur les MTN et le paludisme en Afrique anglophone et francophone, encourager l’adoption de la campagne au niveau national, avec les Osc à sa tête des efforts, etc.

En Guinée, il s’agira d’accroitre ou maintenir l’engagement politique en faveur du contrôle et de l’élimination des maladies tropicales négligées ( MTN), plaider pour le décaissement effectif de la ligne budgétaire consacrée aux MTN et au paludisme, renforcer les capacités de plaidoyer et de communication pour galvaniser et soutenir les champions dans la lutte contre les MTN et le paludisme.

« les campagnes vers kigali, la campagne Non aux MTN et zéro palu je m’engage consistent à faire des activités de plaidoyers pour obtenir et maintenir un engagement politique, un engagement du secteur privé et un engagement de la société dans la lutte contre le paludisme et les maladies tropicales négligées ».

Professeur Naby Moussa Baldé, directeur national de l’épidémiologie et de la lutte contre la maladie

Salomon Dopavogui, directeur exécutif de l’ONG jeunesse secours et vice-président de la coalition non aux MTN quant à lui réitéré l’engagement des ONG à accompagner le gouvernement dans la lutte contre les MTN :

« les organisations de la société civile guinéennes dont figure en tête de proue ( Jeunesse Secours, UDEC et santé plus) restent résolument engagées à accompagner l’État guinéen et les communautés à la base afin de se débarrasser des MTN et conserver leurs places d’OSC leaders en Afrique dans le domaine de la lutte contre les MTN ».

En présidant au lancement de cette campagne, le ministre de la santé et de l’hygiène publique a déclaré que :

« La campagne en marche vers Kigali cadre parfaitement avec notre politique sanitaire. La lutte contre les MTN et le paludisme n’est pas l’apanage du seul département de la santé. Elle requiert une synergie d’actions de toutes les forces. Le Gouvernement Guinéen maintient sans relâche la lutte contre le paludisme et les MTN parmi les priorités nationales et ne ménagera aucun effort pour le déploiement de toutes les ressources nécessaires afin d’atteindre les objectifs nationaux. Nous devons ainsi poursuivre cette lutte malgré ce contexte difficile en renforçant nos stratégies et en mutualisant nos efforts avec l’appui de tous les acteurs. Nous encourageons vivement la collaboration multisectorielle qui nécessite l’implication des communautés, de la société civile, du secteur privé et des partenaires au développement ».

« La Guinée lance cette campagne sous le thème ‘’Zéro palu je m’engage et Non aux MTN’’ dans le cadre de la mutualisation des activités de lutte contre ces deux maladies. Le Gouvernement Guinéen maintient sans relâche la lutte contre le paludisme et les MTN parmi les priorités nationales et ne ménagera aucun effort pour le déploiement de toutes les ressources nécessaires afin d’atteindre les objectifs nationaux » a conclut le ministre Dr Mamadou Pathé Diallo.

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