President Umaro Sissoco Embaló’s priority agenda

Introduction

His Excellency President Umaro Sissoco Embaló – President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau – was appointed as chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance in September 2022.

The President of Guinea-Bissau becomes ALMA’s eighth chair. He takes over from His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta, of the Republic of Kenya who served as chair from February 2020 to August 2022.

Malaria remains a major threat to health and development in Africa. I am committed to ensure that malaria remains high on the political agenda of the African Union and the international community. The elimination of malaria in Africa will not only save millions of lives, it will build more resilient health systems and contribute to Africa’s socio-economic transformation and achieve the aspirations of Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want.

His Excellency Umaro Sissoco Embaló, President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau

His Excellency’s priority agenda

His Excellency President Umaro Sissoco Embaló continues the inspiring progress made under the previous ALMA chairs through his priority agenda.

This game-changing agenda addresses major challenges in the battle against malaria. These challenges include the insufficient engagement of women, children and youth, a lack of funding from the domestic, public and private sectors, as well as the threat of donor funding stagnating.

The 5 priorities of His Excellency: digitalisation and real-time data, engagement with Regional Economic Communities, End Malaria and NTD Councils & Funds, Youth engagement and Malaria Youth Corps, pandemic preparedness and response.

Digitalisation and real time data

Aim

Provide real time access to malaria-related data at country level to enhance malaria prevention and elimination efforts by using country scorecard tools and the ALMA Scorecard Hub – an innovative website providing countries and partners with access to scorecard data, best practices from fellow countries and guidance on how to create and strengthen national scorecard tools.

About this priority

Supporting digitalisation and real time data will help:

  • facilitate strategic decision-making
  • target resources to drive down malaria cases and deaths promote and leverage the existing research and development sector on the African continent
  • enhance the sharing and expanded access to the country malaria scorecard tools, allowing all citizens – in all spheres of life and at all levels – to be aware of their malaria situation and be empowered to act

Our progress

Engagement with Regional Economic Communities in Africa

Aim

Work with Africa’s Regional Economic Communities to engage Heads of State and Government to address key challenges and provide solutions in the fight against malaria.

About this priority

Engaging with regional economic communities will help:

  • introduce regional scorecard tools for review and action by Heads of State and Government
  • share lessons learned and best practices and create awards for excellence to recognise good performance at regional level
  • keep malaria high on the political and technical agenda

Our progress

So far, we have supported the following Regional Economic Communities in introducing their regional scorecards:

  • East African Community (EAC): Great Lakes Malaria Initiative scorecard
  • Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS): ECCAS malaria scorecard
  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS): Sahel scorecard
  • Southern African Development Community (SADC): E8 scorecard
  • August 2020: 16 countries sign Windhoek Declaration to accelerate malaria elimination in southern Africa region.
  • August 2018: The Sahel Malaria Elimination Initiative launched by the ministers of health for Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Chad, seeks to accelerate efforts towards the elimination of malaria in the Sahel region by 2030.
  • 2016: Elimination 8 scorecard tool launched by the Southern African Development Community for Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

End Malaria & NTD Councils and Funds

Aim

Establish national End Malaria & NTD Councils and Funds across the continent.

About this priority

End Malaria & NTD Councils and Funds boost high-level, multi-sectoral engagement and advocacy at country level, while increasing domestic public and private resource mobilisation. In some countries, these councils and funds also address neglected tropical diseases.

Our progress

8 countries have launched End Malaria Councils and Funds:

  • Eswatini (May 2019)
  • Zambia (2019)
  • Mozambique (2020)
  • Uganda (August 2020)
  • Kenya (February 2021)
  • Nigeria (June 2022)
  • Tanzania (April 2023)
  • Guinea-Bissau (May 2023)

Overall, efforts are underway to establish End Malaria Councils and Funds in over 20 countries.

Youth engagement

Aim

Create a continental malaria youth corps and national malaria youth corps to work with existing youth leaders across the African continent to champion youth engagement and resource commitments for malaria elimination.

About this priority

Our youth engagement will:

  • promote innovation, research and development
  • create a group of malaria advocates and champions

Our progress

Pandemic preparedness and response

Aim

Use malaria as a pathfinder for key elements of pandemic preparedness and response.

About this priority

Countries can improve their pandemic preparedness by investing in malaria prevention, testing and treatment as it can lead to:

  • expanded community health worker programmes
  • enhanced digital tools for disease surveillance and detection
  • increased the capacity of national laboratories
  • improved supply chains and logistics for health commodities
  • implementing standard operating procedures to respond to outbreaks in real-time

Our progress

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the predicted doubling in malaria deaths as a result of the pandemic reducing access to malaria prevention and treatment was averted. Case management was decentralised where possible to community health workers, campaigns were prioritised and went ahead as scheduled whilst observing COVID-19 safety protocols, and data systems reported cases in real time. These systems delivering malaria control interventions are also well placed to support pandemic preparedness and response efforts.