Innovative funding; a key strategy in the fight against malaria - Speak Up Africa
Dakar-based non-profit strategic communications and advocacy organisation, Speak Up Africa and its partners, have stressed the need to mobilise communities, political leaders and private businesses to develop and support innovative funding initiatives to help end malaria in Africa.
Speak Up Africa and its partners believe that putting in place funding mechanism to fight malaria will help to accelerate economic development in a sustainable and equitable manner, stop children dying from the disease, and also make it possible to ensure a malaria-free Africa by 2030.
In statement to celebrate this year’s world malaria day, Speak Up Africa and its partners said despite significant made in reducing malaria deaths globally, the disease is still a major public health threat, needing sustainable funding to eliminate it.
“…funding for malaria control and elimination does not meet the real needs in countries. The global funding for malaria control in 2021, for example, has been estimated at US$ 3.5 billion.
This is less than the US$ 7.3 billion that the WHO estimated was needed to support national malaria control programs’ efforts in Africa.
The rising cost of fuel due to Covid-19 and the conflict in Ukraine are impacting the supply chain, as well as the cost of transport to roll out prevention tools to populations exposed to malaria. Without sustained investment in malaria control, there is a risk that the progress made in recent decades will be reversed,” the statement explained.
World Malaria Day
World Malaria Day is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April and recognizes global efforts to control malaria.
World Malaria Day is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. It was instituted by WHO Member States during the World Health Assembly of 2007.
The 2023 edition of the celebration is being held on the theme: “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement”.
Within this theme, WHO will focus on the third “i” – implement – and notably the critical importance of reaching marginalised populations with the tools and strategies that are available today.
Below is the Speak Up Africa’s statement
Dakar, 25 April 2023 - On the occasion of World Malaria Day, Speak Up Africa and its partners reiterate the urgency to mobilize communities, political leaders and private businesses to develop and support innovative funding initiatives to end malaria.
Significant progress has been made in the control of malaria through joint efforts of global actors and national programs. According to World Health Organization (WHO), 185 million cases and nearly one million deaths were averted worldwide in 2021 thanks to national programs' interventions. Despite these efforts, malaria is still a threat to populations, claiming 619,000 deaths in 2021, of which 96% occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. The annual number of malaria cases also increased from 232 million in 2019 to 247 million in 2021.
Impact of the conflict in Ukraine
At the same time, funding for malaria control and elimination does not meet the real needs in countries. The global funding for malaria control in 2021, for example, has been estimated at US$ 3.5 billion. This is less than the US$ 7.3 billion that the WHO estimated was needed to support national malaria control programs’ efforts in Africa. The rising cost of fuel due to Covid-19 and the conflict in Ukraine are impacting the supply chain, as well as the cost of transport to roll out prevention tools to populations exposed to malaria. Without sustained investment in malaria control, there is a risk that the progress made in recent decades will be reversed.
“Through innovative approaches, optimized interventions, and sustained investment, we can accelerate our efforts to achieve a healthy, malaria-free Africa. We have the means to end malaria for a more just and equitable world", said Aké Natondé, member of the Benin National Assembly.
Diversifying funding sources
To address this challenge, the Ecobank Group, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and Speak Up Africa launched the "Zero Malaria Businesses Leadership Initiative" to engage businesses of all sizes to contribute financially to the efforts of national malaria control programs. The initiative, which is being deployed in five African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ghana, and Uganda), has mobilized 60 companies to date and their financial and in-kind contributions amount to more than US$ 1.3 million between 2020 and 2023.
"The estimated economic losses due to malaria are US$ 12 billion each year. This is a huge loss to the development of African countries and the growth of our businesses. We believe that the private sector can and should play a key role in financing the fight against malaria.
Moreover, businesses have a vested interest in participating in national malaria control efforts because a healthy population helps the country's economy develop and allows the private sector to grow efficiently," said Elisa Desbordes-Cissé, Chief Operating Officer of Ecobank Foundation.
"It is time to take innovative and concrete measures to achieve zero malaria in African countries. Through the mobilization of resources, businesses are contributing to the achievement of national targets and can inspire other partners to join efforts to eliminate the disease on the continent once and for all," adds Yacine Djibo, Executive Director of Speak Up Africa.
On the occasion of World Malaria Day, the Ecobank Group, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and Speak Up Africa are calling on companies to join the "Zero Malaria Businesses Leadership Initiative" to support the fight against malaria in their country to:
- Accelerate economic development in a sustainable and equitable manner
- Stop children dying from this entirely preventable and treatable disease
- End this eliminable illness by leveraging your company’s skills and resources
A malaria-free Africa by 2030 is only possible with the support of the private sector!
About the “Zero Malaria Businesses Leadership Initiative”
Led by Ecobank Group and Speak Up Africa and in collaboration with the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, “Zero Malaria Businesses Leadership Initiative” supports the second pillar, private sector engagement, of the "Zero Malaria Starts With Me" campaign, launched in Senegal in 2014 and endorsed by the African Union in 2018. It aims to stimulate private sector engagement in the fight against malaria in Africa and supports the "Zero Malaria Starts with Me" campaign.
“Zero Malaria Businesses Leadership Initiative” supports at-risk communities across the continent by advocating for stronger political will, increased funding, and more targeted malaria elimination strategies.
About Speak Up Africa
Based in Dakar, Senegal, Speak Up Africa is a non-profit strategic communications and advocacy organization dedicated to catalyzing African leadership, driving policy change and raising awareness around sustainable development in Africa. Through our programs, our networks and with the help of our partners, we ensure that decision-makers meet the actors on the ground, that solutions are presented and that every sector - from citizens and civil society groups to financial partners and business leaders - contributes critically to the dialogue and strives to take concrete action for health and sustainable development on the continent.