During the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) forum at the African Union Summit of heads of state and government, African leaders adopted the malaria elimination agenda and awarded African countries for progress in malaria control.
Africa has made tremendous progress in the fight against malaria, and the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that by the end of 2015 malaria deaths will be reduced by 67% on the African continent. Spurred by this success, the African Union has called for the elimination of malaria by 2030. H.E. Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and ALMA Chair said “Despite these successes, malaria still represents a serious health burden on our continent and concerted action is thus necessary to sustain the gains and move towards eliminating the scourge of malaria in our continent.” To this end, the African leaders adopted the malaria elimination agenda and launched the ALMA 2030 Africa Malaria Elimination Scorecard to track progress towards elimination and motivate action that will ensure African countries meet the targets.
To recognize progress in malaria control last year, twelve countries received the 2015 ALMA Award for Excellence. These awardees are chosen by independent selection committee representing the WHO, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the private sector, civil society and academia. Recipients of the 2015 ALMA Award for Excellence in Implementation of Vector (malaria mosquito) Control were Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia. Recipients of the 2015 ALMA Award for Excellence for Most Improved in Malaria Control were Burundi, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, and Togo. And one African country, Ethiopia, is the recipient of the 2015 ALMA Award for Excellence in Innovation for championing the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCH) Scorecards for African countries.
Ray Chambers addresses ALMA Awards for Excellence attendees.
In Africa, malaria claims 437,000 children and sickens 163 million every year. Over 80% of global malaria cases and deaths are in Africa. Efforts to ramp up malaria control have led to recent successes across Africa. Between 2000 and 2013, malaria cases have been reduced by 34% and malaria mortality has decreased by 54%. This translates into a 58% reduction in malaria deaths for children under five years of age.
African Union Commission Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, declared, “what we want is an Africa free from malaria.” ALMA has embraced this call and will be engaged in an aggressive post-2015 elimination agenda.
ALMA was founded by H.E. President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania to create a platform for Africa’s presidents and prime ministers to accelerate action on malaria prevention and control. For more information about ALMA and for a profile of the progress shown by the twelve winning countries, please visit www.alma2015.org.