African health ministers commit to ending malaria deaths

Published: Yaoundé, 7 March 2024

Health ministers from the African countries with the heaviest burden of malaria have pledged to significantly advance the fight against malaria and end deaths resulting from the disease. Under the Yaoundé Declaration, these nations have committed to intensify their efforts through sound leadership, significant investment in healthcare infrastructure, and innovative strategies to tackle the disease head-on.

Signed in Yaoundé Cameroon, the “Declaration for Accelerated Malaria Mortality Reduction in Africa” emphasizes the critical need for increased domestic funding for malaria control initiatives, further investment in technological advancements for data collection and analysis, and the application of the latest technical guidance in malaria eradication.

The declaration comes at a time when Africa is off track to meet its bold and ambitious target to end malaria, and still bears the heaviest burden of the disease. About 94% of all malaria cases (233 million cases) and 95% of all malaria deaths (580,000 deaths) occur on the continent. The rate of progress has stalled since 2015 in several countries due to factors such as humanitarian crises, climate change, biological threats including insecticide and drug resistance, and significant resource gaps linked to the global financial crises.

Globally, the world has made significant progress against malaria in recent decades and yet, since 2017, that progress has stalled. The COVID-19 pandemic and long-standing threats like drug and insecticide resistance pushed us further off-track, with critical gaps in funding and access to tools to prevent, diagnose, and treat malaria. With political leadership, country ownership, and the commitment of a broad coalition of partners, we can change this story for families and communities across Africa.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General

Highlighting the need for a collaborative approach, the Yaoundé ministerial conference, co-hosted by the WHO and the Government of Cameroon, brought together key stakeholders, including global malaria partners, funding agencies, scientists, parliamentarians, and civil society organizations, to discuss effective strategies for combating malaria.

The declaration underscores the critical role of collaborative partnerships in spearheading research, driving innovation for malaria elimination, and mobilizing resources, including domestic funding. To date, private, public, and community-led, and country-owned National End Malaria Councils and Funds as multisectoral vehicles promoting advocacy, action, resource mobilisation, and accountability for the fight against malaria define the future of domestic and sustained national responses.

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance look forward to working to support countries in the implementation of the declaration, so that we end malaria once and for all on the continent.

Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary, African Leaders Malaria Alliance