Botswana wins high-level award for significant progress against malaria
ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA (30 January 2017) – At a time of historic progress toward a malaria-free Africa, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) honoured eight African countries that have shown commitment and innovation in the fight against the disease.
At the 28th African Union Summit, the 2017 ALMA Awards for Excellence were awarded to:
Botswana, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda, for their impact on malaria incidence and mortality; and
Chad, for its leadership in the fight against malaria.
“Thanks to strong African leadership and innovative new partnerships, we are making unprecedented progress in the fight against malaria,” said H.E Idriss Déby Itno, President of Chad and current Chairperson of the African Union. “The success of these countries shows the powerful impact that dedication and sufficient funding can have.”
With the development of a Malaria Control and Elimination Scorecard, Botswana has significantly enhanced malaria tracking and accountability mechanisms. The World Health Organization estimates that Botswana decreased malaria incidence and malaria mortality by more than 40 percent from 2010 to 2015. The country has monitored insecticide resistance since 2014, and a national plan for insecticide resistance monitoring and management is under development. The annual reported number of malaria cases in 2015 was 326, with five malaria-related deaths. The World Health Organization predicts that Botswana has the potential to eliminate local transmission of malaria by 2020. The country is part of the Elimination 8 (E8) initiative, which is working to strengthen regional coordination to achieve elimination in each of the E8 member countries and reduce cross-border malaria transmission.
“The progress in Botswana shows what is possible when a country and its leaders make malaria a priority,” said Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of ALMA. “This kind of progress proves that an Africa without malaria is within our reach.”
“Congratulations to Botswana,” said Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission. Further, he said, “I welcome ALMA’s continued partnership in the fight to end malaria. In this regard, the Catalytic Framework is providing strategic direction to guide countries to achieve malaria control and elimination.”
Since 2000, malaria mortality rates across the continent have fallen by 62 percent in all age groups and by 69 percent among children under five. The increase in those sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal nets, or protected by indoor residual spraying, as well as diagnostic testing of children and treatment of pregnant women has contributed to significantly lowering incidence and mortality in Africa. These achievements come at a time when African countries are providing more domestic funding to fight malaria.
ALMA will also be working closely with the new Roll Back Malaria Chief Executive Officer Dr. Kesetebirhan Admasu, former Minister of Health of Ethiopia.
Malaria remains a critical threat in Africa – the region still bears the highest global malaria burden. In 2015, 195 million of the 212 million new malaria cases and 394,000 of the world’s 429,000 malaria-related deaths were in Africa.