World Malaria Day: Calling On World Leaders

Today marks an important year for the global malaria community as World Malaria Day is commemorated today.

While it is a day to celebrate the strides made to conquer the disease, malaria-combatting organizations, governments, and key funders also take stock of what is needed to see the end of this life-threatening disease. All parties are aligned to one goal: we need to step up the fight!

Fighting against malaria

The World Health Organisation (WHO) World Malaria Report for 2018 showcases the ongoing challenges high-burden countries face due to inadequate funding (1). With the Global Fund in a replenishment year, their goal is to raise $14 billion, which would cover all the grants allocated by the Global Fund from 2020 to 2022. This goal cannot be attained by private funds alone and requires support from governments and world leaders.

The importance of these funds is clearly demonstrated by Goodbye Malaria, a local organization self-tasked to protect Southern African lives against the deadly disease. Goodbye Malaria relies on Global Fund grants to maintain the operation of the indoor residual spraying programme (IRS) that serves as the vector control mechanism in Mozambique. In the most recent spray season, Goodbye Malaria’s IRS programme, funded and supported by The Global Fund, The Governments of Eswatini, Mozambique and South Africa and implemented by LSD12, have protected 1 098 111 lives.

“Along with the Global Fund, our programmes are supported and funded by the governments of Eswatini, Mozambique, and South Africa. These public-private partnerships are evidence of how collaboration can lead to meaningful impact, and whilst we’re proud to have saved over a million lives this past spray season, the reality is there are many more lives to save. On this special day, with the disease firmly on the global agenda, we not only have the responsibility to call on our world leaders to commit to fighting it but also on our local governments to step up the fight.” Says Sherwin Charles, co-founder and CEO of Goodbye Malaria.

Eliminating malaria

Progress in eliminating the disease has stalled in recent years, particularly with funding for eradication efforts far below what is required. With adequate funding, vector control and management is not only possible through programmes like the IRS, but also through strong surveillance mechanisms designed to identify areas that are most affected, so that resources are targeted for maximum impact.

“Calling on global leaders to step-up is becoming more commonplace as activists like David Beckham have joined the call for global leaders to join the fight by staging the world’s first voice petition in the Malaria No More campaign launched earlier this month (2). The fight to end this disease is everyone’s fight, and operating in Southern Africa where we have some of the highest burdens of malaria, we see first-hand the heart-wrenching effects this disease has on our people and our communities. We need support from our global leaders in order to see the end of malaria, and we believe it can be done.” concludes Charles.