African Union leaders on Monday brought to focus the need to accelerate efforts to defeat malaria on the continent. With the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Malaria in Africa by 2030 in place with clear targets and strategies the African Heads of State and Government committed their countries to sustain the gains made in the fight against malaria and monitor insecticide and antimalarial drug resistance.
The leaders also committed their countries to invest in innovations for rapid malaria testing, next generation insecticides for indoor spraying and treated nets for the elimination of malaria.
“It will take significant resources to achieve malaria elimination. As international funding is declining, now, more than ever, we must boost our domestic resources from both the public and private sectors” said His Majesty King Mswati III.
While both international and domestic funding to fight malaria have dramatically increased between 2005 and 2015, strong commitments and sustained funding will be needed to end malaria.
Great progress and significant challenges in responding to malaria between 2010 and 2015
The Africa region achieved an estimated 23% drop in new malaria cases and a 31% decline in deaths. However the Africa region continues continue to bear the biggest burden of the disease with 90% of cases in 2015 estimated at 212 million worldwide occurring in the Africa region. Furthermore 92% of malaria mortality in 2015 occurred in the Africa region. The gains against malaria are fragile hence the need for sustained action.
Malaria targets in the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria by 2030
The Catalytic Framework provides a technical framework with clear targets and milestones for African countries to eliminate malaria. It is intended to guide and support country programmes as they work towards malaria control and elimination. The Strategy sets ambitious but achievable targets that include reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90% by 2030, reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90% by 2030, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries by 2030. To achieve these targets there is need to prioritise data collection and surveillance, early detection, rapid response and ensure that interventions are reaching the most vulnerable populations, including those who regularly cross-country borders.
Defeating malaria is critical to ending poverty and sustainable development
Malaria is also a major socio-economic problem for Africa accounting for an average annual reduction of 1.3% in economic growth in high endemic countries. Less malaria means healthier societies, increased attendance at school and work, more productive communities, and stronger economies. Eliminating malaria is critical to achieving Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals, and must remain a key priority for the global development community. Sustained financial investment, political will and innovation are key to ensure continued success against malaria.