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World Malaria Day: RBM Partnership restates resolve to beat malaria

With the rallying call “Ready to Beat Malaria”, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria is encouraging governments, health bodies, private sector companies and the public to accelerate progress against malaria, making the 2018 World Malaria Day even more vital.

Kesete Admasu
Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria

Wednesday, April 25 marks the 10th World Malaria Day and the culmination of a month of worldwide action against the disease at a time when global malaria cases are on the rise for the first time in a decade.

“After a decade of success in pushing back malaria, it is on the rise again and will come back with a vengeance if we do not act decisively now,” warns Dr Kesete Admasu, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

Admasu adds: “Half the world is still threatened by malaria, an entirely preventable, treatable disease which takes a child’s life every two minutes. Worldwide action is needed to meet the 2030 target of reducing malaria cases by at least 90%. We are delighted that more countries than ever, forty-four, are reporting less than 10,000 cases, however we must ensure we continue to press forward to end malaria – not only in high-burden nations but also those on track to eliminate the disease. It is our global responsibility to consign malaria to the history books.”

Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, RBM Partnership Board Chair, comments: “This month has seen world leaders come together to renew commitments to step up funding and speed up innovations against the disease. It has been a truly momentous time in the fight against malaria, but the battle is not yet won. We also need citizen and community action around the world to drive momentum towards reaching global targets.

“The malaria fight is at a crossroads and we could be the generation to end the disease for good. If we don’t seize the moment now, our hard-won gains will be lost. We’re ready to beat malaria – are you?”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), says: “World Malaria Day reminds us of the challenges that remain. The declining trend in malaria cases and deaths has stalled and vital funding for malaria programmes has flat lined. If we continue along this path, we will lose the gains for which we have fought so hard.

“We call on countries and the global health community to close the critical gaps in the malaria response. Together we must ensure that no one is left behind in accessing lifesaving services to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.”

World Malaria Day comes on the heels of two major malaria events – the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, where UK Prime Minister Theresa May and other Commonwealth leaders made a commitment to halve malaria burden across 53 member countries by 2023 in response to the London Malaria Summit. In addition, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) conference in Dakar brought together scientists and researchers from across Africa to share the latest innovations in the fight against the disease.

The day has also inspired creativity from RBM Partnership partners worldwide, from music videos by the Nigeria National Malaria Elimination Programme to Japanese traditional theatre performances from Malaria No More Japan.

Other events taking place across the globe to celebrate World Malaria Day include:

  • The RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the Swiss Malaria Group are hosting the 10th anniversary celebrations of World Malaria Day in Geneva on 25 April 2018. An inauguration of the World Malaria Day art installation on Place des Nations will take place followed by a high-level roundtable organised together with the Global Health Centre of the Graduate Institute.
  • There are numerous events happening in Nigeria, the country with the heaviest malaria burden in Africa, around World Malaria Day:
  1. Ready to Beat Malaria in the State of Osun is running from April 23 to 25 and will include a Continuing Medical Education (CME) program on the holistic approach to the management of malaria and community outreach to rural communities featuring health talks on malaria prevention strategies and malaria screenings.
  2. The End Malaria World Festival promises to be the biggest ever malaria event in Nigeria and will take place at the convocation Arena Rivers State University Port-Harcourt on April 24 to 25 to create awareness on the increasing scourge of malaria in Nigeria and efforts at combating it.
  3. The Nigerian Ministry of Health will convene 300 doctors in Lagos to discuss whether Nigeria is ready to beat malaria and how technology and nutrition can help fight the disease.
  • On April 24, The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Malaria & Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the UK hosted a parliamentary event at the Palace of Westminster to discuss the challenges and opportunities for tackling malaria across the Commonwealth.
  • On April 25, in Port au Prince, Haiti, the First Lady of Haiti Martine Moïse and more than 300 government officials, civil society representatives, scientists and technical partners, including the Malaria Zero Alliance, are gathering to increase awareness of Haiti’s commitment to eliminating malaria by 2022.
  • In Washington D.C., USA, the Malaria roundtable (which includes UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets, Malaria No More, PATH, Friends of the Global Fight, ASTMH) is hosting a reception on Capitol Hill in conjunction with the Senate Caucus on Malaria and NTDs on April 25. The reception will include comment from members of Congress, Administration officials and partners celebrating the U.S. impact in the malaria fight
  • The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, US is hosting a symposium on malaria drug development and resistance at the Bloomberg School of Public Health on April 25.

The RBM Partnership to End Malaria is said to be the largest global platform for coordinated action against malaria. Originally established as Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership in 1998, it mobilises for action and resources and forges consensus among partners. The Partnership is comprised of more than 500 partners, including malaria endemic countries, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, nongovernmental and community-based organisations, foundations, and research and academic institutions.

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