7 July 2019, Niamey – The African Leaders Malaria Alliance congratulates the Ministers of Health from across the Sahel on the announcement of a new fund to improve access to lifesaving malaria interventions. The new Sahel Malaria Commodities Fund (SMCF) will bridge critical gaps in the provision of essential malaria commodities in the region. The Fund needs to mobilise an estimated US$ 76 million to meet set targets by 2020.
‘Malaria knows no borders, to win the battle against malaria we need regional collaborative efforts that can contribute to accelerated prevention, early detection and prompt treatment of every malaria case. The establishment of this regional fund heralds a continental policy shift that focuses on increased private and public domestic investments in health with the highest impact’ said Joy Phumaphi, the Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.
The new Fund will procure essential commodities - which include seasonal malaria chemoprevention, indoor insecticide spraying, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, rapid diagnostic tests and artemisinin-based combination therapy. During the meeting, the Sahel ministers reviewed and agreed on joint priorities that include extending seasonal chemoprevention to protect 1.2 million more children, building on cross-border cooperation between neighbouring countries, developing a sub-regional scorecard to track progress and roll out of the continental Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign.
Several sub-regions are increasing cross-border coordination to fight against malaria. Research has shown that poor coordination of campaigns across borders significantly reduces their effectiveness due to the migration of people, goods, and mosquitos. Moreover there is increasing focus on addressing malaria through sub-regional coordination. The 2018 African Union Malaria Progress Report has as one of its key recommendations the need for enhanced sub-regional malaria efforts through Regional Economic Communities.
The Sahel Malaria Elimination Initiative (SaME) Ministerial Forum launched in August 2018, is a platform for co-ordination on malaria elimination between eight countries in the Sahel - Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and The Gambia. The SMCF will also facilitate an increase in national financing through sustainable funding mechanisms that the countries will contribute to, that allows their domestic contributions to be monitored. The SMCF will coordinate donors’ support, quantification and budgeting efforts.