Eliminating malaria in the Commonwealth webinar
Language: English, with French interpretation
16 March 2022
We were delighted to recognise Commonwealth Day by hosting a virtual event on 16 March.
During the webinar, we discussed the progress made by Commonwealth countries to halve the malaria burden by 2023, since the countries committed to the target in April 2018. We covered topics including the:
- use of data for action
- role of End Malaria Councils
- incredible efforts made by Ministries of Health to maintain focus on malaria during the COVID-19 pandemic
What we learnt during the webinar
In April 2018, the 53 leaders of the Commonwealth countries made a commitment to halve malaria by 2023, a commitment which if achieved could prevent up to 350 million cases of malaria and save as many as 650,000 lives.
Following the agreement of the Commonwealth commitment at the 2018 CHOGM Summit, it was agreed to track progress on two indicators:
- On track to reduce malaria incidence by 50% by 2023
- On track to reduce malaria mortality rates by 50% by 2023
Defeating malaria is predicated on forging partnerships to promote advocacy, action, resource mobilisation and accountability. This requires high-level political commitment, where leaders commit to action, communities take ownership, ministries act, the private sector becomes more responsive, and partners support.Professor Sheila Tlou, ALMA Special Ambassador
Use of data for action
In 2021, the Commonwealth secretariat – in collaboration with Malaria No More UK – launched the Commonwealth Malaria Tracker to help countries monitor progress on these two indicators.
Dr Ruth Kattumuri (Senior Director for the Economic, Youth & Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth secretariat) shared that countries found the Commonwealth Malaria Tracker very useful because it presents an interactive and visual display of the progress across all Commonwealth countries.
An evidence-based analysis is extremely important in understanding the situation, analysing it and using it to determine policies, measures and practices to address issues. Urgent action is needed by Commonwealth leaders to regain momentum in fighting malaria – towards halving malaria cases by 2023.Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Senior Director for the Economic, Youth & Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth secretariat
Role of End Malaria Councils
Thandile Nxumalo (Eswatini End Malaria Fund chair) shared how the Eswatini End Malaria Fund has engaged the private sector and community leaders to help defeat malaria.
End Malaria Councils and Funds have been instrumental in the countries in which they’ve been established by working with governments to fight the scourge of malaria.Thandile Nxumalo, Eswatini End Malaria Fund chair
In Eswatini, Thandile Nxumalo highlighted the many ways the national End Malaria Fund has supported the fight against malaria, including:
- money for indoor residual spraying and advertising campaigns to raise awareness
- in-kind contributions such as from MTN to provide data for disease notifications
- working with chiefs to drive the message in the communities about the scourge of malaria
Efforts to maintain focus on malaria during the COVID-19 pandemic
Dr Aimable Mbituyimana (Division Manager, Malaria and Other Parasitic Diseases, Ministry of Health of Rwanda) talked about the impact of the pandemic on malaria services in Rwanda and how the disruptions to essential services were mitigated thanks to the strengthening of community and home-based care models and integrating malaria messages into COVID-19-related communication.
High-level coordination and development of the malaria advocacy plan
Dr Joël Ateba (Deputy Permanent Secretary of the National Malaria Control Programme, Ministry of Health of Cameroon) spoke about the launch of the national elimination campaign on 14 March 2022 in Cameroon under the patronage of the country’s First Lady, Chantal Biya. Cameroon is one of the 11 countries most affected by malaria.
The campaign will spread to all regions through all channels, using all channels of communication including digital channels so we can reach all communities with the key messages, and get their support to eliminate malaria.Dr Joël Ateba, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the National Malaria Control Programme, Ministry of Health of Cameroon
Calls for renewed commitments at the upcoming CHOGM Summit
Panelists made concerted calls for renewed commitments at the upcoming Kigali Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM Summit).
To end malaria in our Commonwealth member countries by 2030, it is important to commit to increased investment in malaria programming, better targeting to at risk populations, and a continuous focus on ensuring the services reach the poorest and most marginalised.Dr Ruth Kattumuri, Senior Director for the Economic, Youth & Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth secretariat
The upcoming Malaria and NTD Summit is an opportunity to have all country leaders, donors, private sector and all stakeholders coming together to discuss the current global malaria and NTD situation, discuss challenges and propose solutions. The high-level segment, where Heads of States and Head of Governments will gather with investors, will be the opportunity to call for renewed action, and increased investment in malaria, NTD and pandemic preparedness.Aimable Mbituyimana, Division Manager, Malaria and Other Parasitic Diseases, Ministry of Health of Rwanda
All our strategic plan is budgeted but we still have major gaps to finance all malaria activities – and these high level meetings are critical to keep malaria high on the agenda.Dr Joël Ateba, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the National Malaria Control Programme, Ministry of Health of Cameroon