Financing for Development meeting aims at eliminating malaria globally by 2030

MalariaAmong the many aims of the ongoing 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) is to eliminate malaria in the world by the year 2030.

At the end of the FfD going on in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from July 13 to 16, 2015, and in a few months, UN Member States plan to adopt a new set of Global Goals for Sustainable Development which calls for malaria elimination by 2030.

In a joint press statement, the global malaria control community says it has outlined a vision for a malaria-free world and, in order to achieve it, called for increased investment in malaria control and elimination efforts around the world to bring an end to this costly scourge.

African countries are hard hit by malaria. “Each year, malaria costs the African continent alone an estimated minimum of $12 billion in lost productivity, and in some high burden countries it can account for as much as 40 percent of public health expenditure,” the statement notes.

Each year, sub-Saharan Africa alone accounts for 90 per cent of the world’s 300-500 million cases of malaria and 1.5-2.7 million malaria – related deaths. About 90 per cent of these deaths in Africa are of young children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

During a special session on financing for malaria elimination, leaders also presented a new strategic vision toward malaria elimination. The vision is outlined in the World Health Organization’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030, which was previously approved by the World Health Assembly and lays out the technical strategy needed to continue driving down the burden of malaria, and the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) 2 Partnership’s Action and Investment to defeat Malaria 2016-2030 (AIM) – for a malaria free world, which charts the investment and collective actions needed to reach the 2030 malaria goals.

The meeting of leaders noted that with greater coordination and increased financing, malaria has been one of the great success stories of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) era, with more than six million deaths projected to have been averted between 2000 and 2015, primarily of children less than five years old in sub-Saharan Africa.

“In that period, globally there has been a 58 per cent decline in mortality. Yet more than half of the world’s population remains at risk of malaria infection, representing an alarming threat to global development. The disease is still endemic in 97 countries and territories around the world,” it states.

The statement indicates that analysis in the AIM document suggests that the global return on investment in malaria elimination by 2030 could reach a staggering 40:1, rising to an unprecedented 60:1 return on investment if malaria is eliminated in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Dr. Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership was quoted in the statement as saying, “The next five years will be critical to get us on the right path to achieve the 2030 targets. We must close the funding gaps and double current malaria financing by 2020. The amount is ambitious, but the investment carries a significant return and could save over 10 million lives, avert nearly three billion malaria cases and unlock over $4 trillion in additional global economic output across the 2016-2030 timeframe.”

For the first time in history, the possibility of eliminating the scourge of malaria from the world is before us. It demands vision, courage, investment and patience over the next 15 years which would lead to faster reduction in poverty and accelerated economic development, enhanced educational attainment and vastly improved national systems to respond effectively to health security threats, the statement indicates.

In 2013 Ghana recorded over 11.3 million cases of Out-Patient-Department OPD) malaria, according to the National malaria Control Programme (NMCP).

On the average 30,300 of such cases were seen each day in the county’s health facilities, the NMCP added.

The Ghana News Agency citing the NMCP report said OPD malaria cases per 1,000 population in 2013, was 417 for the country. The rural areas recorded more cases and higher rate per 1,000 than the urban centres in the previous year.

The ranked order of reported cases in 2013 shows that the Upper West region recorded the least cases of 407,000 OPD malaria cases while Brong Ahafo region reported the highest which was about 1,357,000.

However, the highest incidence rate for OPD malaria was recorded in the Upper East region which was 700 per 1,000 populations and the lowest was in Greater Accra which recorded 174 cases per 1,000.

It said the proportion of the total OPD cases attributed to malaria gradually reduced from over 45 per cent in the past to less than 40 per cent.

According to the report, in 2013, the proportion of OPD cases attributed to malaria increase slightly to 43 per cent.

Meanwhile, another GNA report citing Dr. Quansah-Asare indicated that routine health facility data in 2014 showed that deaths due to malaria reduced by 35 per cent from 3,256 in 2011 to 2,200 in 2014, and malaria case fatality rate in under five children was 0.51 per cent as compared to 14 per cent some years back.

She said the 2014 Ghana Demographic Health Survey (GDHS) also put ownership of insecticide treated bed nets in Ghana at 68 per cent, an increase over the 2003 GDHS figure of 18 per cent.

As part of its major foreign assistance objective, the US Government focused on malaria prevention and control. In May 2009, President Barack Obama announced the Global Health Initiative (GHI), a comprehensive effort to reduce the burden of disease and promote healthy communities and families around the world. The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is a core component of the GHI.

PMI was launched in June 2005 as a five-year, $1.2 billion initiative to rapidly scale up malaria prevention and treatment interventions and reduce malaria-related mortality by 50% in 15 high burden countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

With the passage of the 2008 Lantos-Hyde Act, funding for PMI was extended and, as part of the GHI, the goal of PMI was adjusted to reduce malaria related mortality by 70% in the original 15 countries by the end of 2015, according to information made available by the USAID.

Ghana became a PMI country in December 2007. Other donor partners include the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), which has provided an estimated $145 million towards malaria control since 2003 and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID) whose five-year, $16 million grant began in 2013.

The US government prepared the 2015 Malaria Operational Plan in collaboration with the Government of Ghana (GOG), National Malaria Control Program (NMCP), and other development partners and based upon analyzing malaria control data and trends and reviewing lessons learned over seven years of PMI implementation.

The planned budget for 2015 is $28 million, according to the USAID.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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