A malaria-free Africa is within reach
The Fight Stunning progress against malaria in the past decade has allowed the world to imagine a different future.
The next chapters of our fight will be the most difficult yet. Eliminating malaria will take bold commitments from African leaders in the public and private sectors and continued global aid commitments that recognise and leverage country ownership.
We must double down on existing malaria control efforts and think creatively about new funding sources, innovative new tools and unique partnerships to drive down cases and deaths and move more countries toward elimination.
"Eliminating malaria will take bold commitments from African leaders."
Strong leadership has been key to progress. Since 2000, we have cut malaria mortality rates in Africa by 62 per cent. 10 years ago, malaria was killing a child every 30 seconds on our continent and only five per cent of the at-risk population slept under insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
Now, more than half of the at-risk population sleeps under bed nets. These are extraordinary achievements. Our continent is demonstrating that we can lead the charge in the malaria fight. But malaria still ravages our families, communities and economies.
Momentum is building across the whole continent
So why are we hopeful? Momentum is building across the continent. In Nigeria, which shoulders 29 per cent of the global malaria burden, the public and private sectors are joining forces. Last year, the Nigerian Health ministry and the Dangote Foundation launched the Private Sector Engagement Strategy, which leverages business expertise and innovation and capitalises on the strength of government efforts to control malaria.
"Since 2000, we have cut malaria mortality rates in Africa by 62%."
In 2005, there was no data on how many Liberians were dying from malaria. Nor did national health care officials know how many children with a fever had the disease. So Liberian health and finance ministers, non-governmental organisations and others joined forces.
They strengthened diagnostic capacity at the local level, improved case supervision at the county level, and enhanced management systems for health data. 10 years later, Liberia’s malaria-related deaths have been cut in half. Today, all public and private health facilities are supplied with rapid diagnostic tests.
High-level advocacy and collaboration
Similar advancements are under way across Africa thanks to the efforts of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, a coalition of heads of state and government from African Union-member countries fighting malaria through high-level advocacy and action.
Both the ALMA Scorecard for Accountability & Action and the ALMA 2030 Scorecard towards Malaria Elimination are helping track country-by-country progress and drive action on control and elimination.
"All of us have a role to play in ridding the world of this disease."
The need for renewed leadership to fight malaria is why we, along with other African leaders, joined the End Malaria Council. The Council is a group of public and private sector leaders committed to keeping malaria elimination high on the global agenda.
The rest of the world should take heed and support this effort, which will save lives and unlock new economic opportunity. The end of malaria starts now.
Joining forces to end malaria
Ms Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia, and former Chair of ALMA, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
Mr Dangote is the president and chief executive of the Dangote Group, chairman of the Dangote Foundation, and Nigeria’s Malaria Ambassador