15 June 2022
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.