Mobilizing Communities to Roll Back Malaria

 

                            Mobilizing Communities to Roll Back Malaria

                                                            World Bank

 

                            April 25, 2002—On April 25th, countries throughout Africa

                            celebrate the 3rd annual Africa Malaria Day. The theme for this

                            years celebration is mobilizing communities to Roll Back

                            Malaria. Events are taking place in almost every country in the

                            region with the hope of stimulating communities to take action

                            towards reducing the burden of malaria in Africa.

 

                            Malaria continues to be a major public health burden on Africa

                            and other developing regions. More than 90% of the 300-500

                            million clinical cases of malaria globally occur in sub-Saharan

                            Africa. Malaria causes approximately 1 million deaths every year

                            (2 deaths every minute). Almost all these deaths are in children

                            less than 5 years of age.

 

                            Malaria is a disease of poverty. Studies have shown that 58% of

                            malaria-related deaths occur among the poorest 20% of the

                            world's population, a percentage higher than any other disease of

                            major public health importance. Malaria also places an economic

                            burden on countries in Africa. It has been estimated that the

                            growth of the Gross Domestic Product of African countries is

                            reduced by an average of 1.3% annually because of malaria.

 

                            In November 1998, the heads of the World Health Organization,

                            UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Bank, recognizing the urgent

                            need to take action, founded the Roll Back Malaria (RBM)

                            Partnership, with the goal of halving the global burden of malaria

                            by 2010. RBM focuses on three main strategies to reach this

                            goal:

 

                                 Rapid, effective treatment

                                 Insecticide-treated bed nets

                                 Prevention of malaria during pregnancy

 

                            RBM was conceived as a new way of doing business, which built

                            on the lessons of the past. It aims to accomplish its goals by

                            working through existing efforts to develop health systems in

                            affected countries. All actors and all avenues would be engaged

                            towards achieving this goal. At country level, this means that

                            malaria control programs would have to work in partnership with

                            other parts of the health sector, with non-health sectors, and with

                            non-governmental and private sectors. RBM recognized that it

                            was as important to engage people with expertise in program

                            management and logistics and financial management as it was

                            engaging those with a technical knowledge of malaria control.

 

                            Africa Malaria Day commemorates the anniversary the Africa

                            Summit on Roll Back Malaria, held in Abuja, Nigeria on this date

                            two years ago. At that summit, high-level delegations from all

                            malaria-affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa (including 19

                            heads of state) signed on to the goal of Roll Back Malaria, to

                            reduce the global burden of malaria by 50% by the year 2010. To

                            reach this goal, countries in Africa agreed to "initiate appropriate

                            and sustainable action to strengthen the health systems to

                            ensure that by the year 2005:

 

                                 at least 60% of those suffering from malaria have prompt

                                 access to, and are able to correctly use, affordable and

                                 appropriate treatment within 24 hours of the onset of

                                 symptoms,

                                  

                                 at least 60% of those at risk of malaria, particularly

                                 children under five years of age and pregnant women,

                                 benefit from the most suitable combination of personal and

                                 community protective measures such as insecticide

                                 treated mosquito nets and other interventions which are

                                 accessible and affordable to prevent infection and

                                 suffering,

                                  

                                 at least 60% of all pregnant women who are at risk of

                                 malaria, especially those in their first pregnancies, have

                                 access to chemoprophylaxis or presumptive intermittent

                                 treatment".

 

                            At that summit, the World Bank committed to mobilize $500

                            million dollars in IDA credit financing at the request of affected

                            countries. Currently, 45 health sector operations, including

                            almost all operations in sub-Saharan Africa, provide resources to

                            support malaria control activities. Malaria control has also been

                            supported in some countries with resources mobilized as part of

                            the HIPC initiative.

 

                            Userful links: For further information on Roll Back Malaria

                            program, please click here.