Launch of Malaria Media Coalition in Ghana to Accelerate Progress Towards Malaria Elimination by 2030

Press Release • 25 September 2020

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
50 Ghanaian journalists commit to playing their part in the fight for a malaria-free Africa as part of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign.



25th September 2020, Accra, Ghana

Today, with support from the National Malaria Control Programme, Speak Up Africa and African Media and Malaria Research Network, a new media coalition in Ghana has been launched as part of the Pan-African “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” movement to eliminate malaria by 2030.
The Malaria Media Coalition seeks to:

  • To empower journalists to produce accurate and high-quality media output on a regular basis
  • To maximise the role of the media in malaria advocacy and communications initiatives
  • To provide a sustainable platform for coordination and collaboration at a national and sub-national level

The coalition includes journalists from a broad range of media outlets (radio, T.V, print and online media) across the country. This group of committed media professionals are demonstrating the importance of the media in advocacy and communication campaigns and represents a bold step in the fight for a malaria-free Ghana.

Originally launched in Senegal in 2014 by the National Malaria Control Programme, supported by PATH and Speak Up Africa, the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign sets out to ignite a society-wide movement towards malaria elimination. It promotes the idea that if each of us, whoever we are and whatever we do, assumes responsibility and steps up to take action then this aspirational vision will become a reality. As such, all sectors of society, from national and local government to the private sector, to the media, civil society and to communities themselves, are being called upon to join the movement and declare “Zero Malaria Starts with Me”.

The campaign is currently being rolled-out across Africa, co-led by the African Union Commission and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. To date, 15 countries have launched national campaigns from all across Africa.
Ghana announced the launch of its “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign on April 25th, World Malaria Day, 2019. It is led by the National Malaria Control Programme and supported by Speak Up Africa, African Media and Malaria Research Network, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Union, with funding from Comic Relief & GSK.

According to the World Malaria Report 2019, there were an estimated 228 million cases and 405,000 deaths in 2018, and of these, Ghana accounts for an estimated 6.5 million cases and 11 thousand deaths. Malaria continues to cause suffering, dismantle families, and reduces productivity. It has an immense economic toll and is a major block to all forms of development.

More must be done to combat this entirely preventable and treatable disease.

The Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign fully acknowledges and embraces the important role that the media plays in advocacy and communication. This is because it is to a large extent the media that drives national conversations on important issues. Journalists have the ability to hold authorities to account on their responsibilities to their citizens, and it is the networks of media houses that have the ability to deliver life-saving information to those who need it most.

The campaign is also launching a “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” media award to recognize publicly and celebrate exceptional journalists on this important public health issue.

Since the turn of the century, we have made great progress in the fight against malaria, with 7 million deaths and 1 billion cases having been averted. The vision of a malaria-free Ghana is now in sight, and the media coalition launched today is an important step towards that goal. The Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign is gaining pace in Ghana, and we hope that more countries join the movement to help improve health and prosperity for their citizens.

“Malaria is one of the greatest public health challenges of our lifetime. The Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign aims to address this challenge by bringing together people from all walks of life and from across the African continent. Increasing the quantity of quality media coverage is crucial and I am convinced that the launch of the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me Media Coalition” in Ghana will bring us one step closer to making the end malaria vision a reality”.

Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo,
CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria

Ghana has made significant strides to combat malaria in recent years, with the mortality rating dropping by almost 40% since 2010. But more needs to be done as the burden of malaria still weighs heavily on our communities. We know that the media are crucial partners in the fight against malaria and we are lucky to have such a vibrant and diverse media sector in Ghana. We all must join the fight for a malaria-free future and declare Zero Malaria Starts with Me!

Dr. Keziah Malm,
Program Director of the National Malaria Control Programme, Ghana

We wholeheartedly welcome the establishment of the Zero Malaria Media Coalition here in Ghana. It is vital that journalists are informed and collaborate with structures such as the National Malaria Control Programme and their partners to serve the public interest. Journalists will now be equipped to support the advocacy efforts of the campaign and ready to disseminate life-saving information as widely as possible. We are ready to stand up and play our part in the fight for a malaria-free Africa.

Dr. Charity Binka,
Founder and Executive Secretary, African Media and Malaria Research Network

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