Africa reiterates global call to end malaria by 2030 during global commemorations
More than 300 experts and diplomats from the 54 Member State backed African Union and development partners meeting in Addis Ababa Monday to define Africa's future health direction jointly commemorated World Malaria Day under the theme “End Malaria for Good in Africa by 2030”.
“The malaria fight is one of the most inspiring global health stories of our time, resulting from smart investments and strong partnerships that have resulted in dramatic progress against malaria in the past 15 years.” said the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union, H.E. Mr. Erastus Mwencha.
This year the day is being commemorated as a good number of African countries successfully met Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets to end Malaria. Africa contributed to the global reduction of malaria related deaths by 60 percent globally, with 6.2 million lives saved since 2000. Malaria is no longer the leading cause of death of African children as malaria related deaths among children under five years declined by 71%.
“In the last few years we have built more than 15,000 health centres and trained more than 30,000 community health extension workers in Ethiopia. These numbers are truly impressive, and a testimony of the willpower of our people. Yet, the story of what this has meant to our people is even more compelling” said Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, Minister of Health of Ethiopia while giving the key note during the meeting in the diplomatic and political capital of Africa.
Africa remains the continent with the highest burden of malaria globally but fighting malaria is part of the bigger fight to strengthen health systems. With the potential to have major seasonal malaria resurgences reversing the gains made in close to two decades it is important to ensure that global financing mechanisms such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria are fully replenished as key mechanisms to provide African countries with the needed support in the medium term.
“This is the time to embark on an elimination path with significant human and financial investment in the scale up of efforts in high transmission areas. Efforts are underway to strengthen the global partnership for malaria thus creating an opportunity for collective action towards eliminating the disease” said Honourable Dr. Richard Kamwi, who is the Malaria 8 Elimination Ambassador, Roll Back Malaria Board Member and former Minister of Health of the Republic of Namibia.
Significant progress has been made in Africa in the last decade and a half in responding to malaria. Significant challenges including a huge gap in financing and broader health systems challenges threaten to stall the progress being made. It is in this context that African Heads of State and Government set the bold target to eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030 in the 2013 Abuja Declaration. Subsequently this target was embraced with key actions in Africa's Catalytic Framework and the Sustainable Development Goals.