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King Mswati III Launches End Malaria Fund

King Mswati III launches an End Malaria Fund, a public private partnership to close the funding gap to end the disease by 2022
Close to USD 603,000 committed to the Fund with demonstrated commitment from the private sector
Zero Malaria Starts With Me Campaign launched in Eswatini

Mandvulo– The Kingdom of Eswatini made history by becoming the first country in the world to establish an End Malaria Fund to end the disease as a public health threat by 2022 on 31 May 2019. Several leaders who attended the launch from African Governments, intergovernmental organisations, the private sector and development partners expressed strong support for the initiative with various speakers urging African countries to introduce similar initiatives to increase domestic investments for malaria programmes from both the private and public sectors across the continent. During the meeting, the private and public sector and individuals committed an initial USD603,000 to the Fund that will see increased public and private domestic investments in the response.

“The Kingdom faces a US$5.5 million budget gap to eliminate malaria. If we cannot fund the spray teams that protect those at risk, respond to each case in a timely manner, and monitor cases that cross our borders then the progress that we have made will be at risk. Today, we launch the first national End Malaria Fund. This fund exists to mobilise the resources necessary to close the funding gap and ensure that we eliminate malaria by 2022, and then prevent the reintroduction of malaria thereafter,” said His Majesty King Mswati III.

The resources being mobilised from the Fund are earmarked towards eliminating local transmission of malaria, sustaining elimination through surveillance, testing, and case management and supporting malaria elimination in the region. The Fund will achieve three key results: mobilisation of public and private resources, maintain malaria high on the public policy agenda and foster enhanced multisectoral collaboration. A Board of Directors composed of senior representatives of the Government, private sector, and local communities governs the operations of the Fund. The Board Members announced during the meeting are Mrs Thandi Nxumalo – Chairperson, Prince Lonkhokhela; Mr Bheki Bhembe, Dr Simon Zwane, Savannah Maziya, Tony de Castro, Ferdie Brauchmann, Langalakhe Dlamini, Chief Prince Mkhumbi, Nick Oppenheimer, Fikile Nkosi, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Treasure Maphanga.

“I congratulate His Majesty King Mswati III’s on his exemplary and prominent leadership role since becoming Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance in 2017. Under His Majesty’s leadership the African Union launched a continental campaign and annual reporting. Significant domestic investments will ensure greater domestic policy ownership, a departure from a situation where almost half of the activities and goals of National Malaria Strategic Plans on the continent are externally funded,” said Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

Eswatini has achieved significant progress in reducing incidence and mortality from malaria over the past several years, and is on track to eliminate the disease. Curbing imported cases from migrant workers is part of Eswatini’s sustained response in the malaria fight. Domestic and international funding and public awareness of malaria prevention remains critical.
“Eswatini’s End Malaria Fund is an innovative initiative that will keep malaria elimination high on the agenda. I would like all Member States of the Africa Union to learn from this experience. I congratulate His Majesty King Mswati III and the Kingdom of Eswatini for establishing the End Malaria Fund,” said Her Excellency Amira El Fadil, the Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission.

The newly established Fund is a public-private partnership between the Government, private enterprise, international community, and people of Eswatini. The capital raised is deposited into a national trust fund that will help ensure that the funding strategies and decisions are consistent and supportive of the national health and malaria strategy, resulting in greater coherence; unification and harmonisation. As Eswatini reaches elimination stage, funding has levelled off and donor funding is neither assured nor sustained in the context of reduced Development Assistance for Health.

“The launch of the End Malaria Fund is the first of its kind on the African continent and is consistent with the goals of Zero Malaria Starts Me. I hope this will be taken up throughout Africa,” said Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, Chief Executive Officer of the RBM Partnership.

His Majesty King Mswati III officially launched the Zero Malaria Starts With Me Campaign (ZMSWM) in the Kingdom of Eswatini following the continental launch last year. ZMSWM is part of a continent-wide campaign co-led by the African Union Commission, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, and supported by African leaders. The campaign offers simple tools to increase community participation in malaria elimination efforts, keep pressure up on leaders to stay committed to ending the disease, and forge new partnerships that can contribute additional funding that will increase access to treatment, improve diagnosis and prevention against the deadly disease.

“I congratulate His Majesty King Mswati III for his bold leadership and vision to end Malaria in Eswatini as a public health threat by 2030. The historic End Malaria Fund is a critical step towards closing the existing funding gap. It is possible to defeat malaria, Algeria, Mauritius and Morocco did it and the Kingdom of Eswatini is on track to achieve zero malaria,” said His Excellency President Kikwete, the Former President of Tanzania and founding Chair of ALMA.

International surveys and research have shown that eliminating malaria has a significant economic and social impact. Reducing malaria incidence frees public resources for other critical service delivery areas such as education contributing to Africa’s broader aspirations for socio-economic transformation. While significant progress has been made- 40 per cent reduction in mortality rates and 20 per reduction of incidence in this decade alone-the 2018 World Malaria Report warns that we are off track in defeating Malaria by 2030 and further action is needed. Furthermore, Africa accounts for 93% of global cases. Malaria also imposes significant economic costs on the region, slowing economic growth by up to 1.3% per year and hurting businesses through worker absenteeism, decreased productivity, and lower consumer spending.

“I applaud His Majesty King Mswati III for this historic launch and the Kingdom of Lesotho and the African continent at large remain ready to support Eswatini in its leadership role to end malaria on the continent,” said King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho in his solidarity message.

The meeting was attended key sectors of the Eswatini community including high-level government officials, the private sector and community leaders. Countries that attended the launch include Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Botswana and Tanzania. The Leadership of the African Union Commission, ALMA, Afreximbank, AfDB, MMV, SADC, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, Tanzania Biotech attended the meeting. Various South African private sector players also attended the meeting.

For more information on the Fund and how to contribute visit: https://malaria.fund/funds/eswatini/