ALMA congratulates the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on the launch of the continent’s first End Malaria and NTDs Council

Published: 5 May 2023

The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) congratulates the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on the launch of Africa’s first joint End Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Council. This significant milestone marks a new chapter in the country’s fight against these diseases and demonstrates its unwavering commitment to achieving control and elimination targets by 2030 and improving the health and well-being of its people.

Led by Honorable Dr Dionísio Cumba, Guinea-Bissau’s Minister of Health, the unveiling of the Council fulfils H.E President Umaro Sissoco Embaló’s call to action at the 2023 African Union Summit for all African Union Heads of State and Government to establish End Malaria Councils to accelerate the fight against these diseases which disproportionately affect many of the most vulnerable communities across the continent.

Drawing from the expertise of multisectoral leaders including businessmen and women, religious and traditional leaders as well as the public sector, Hon. Dr Dionísio Cumba noted that the End Malaria and NTDs Council will work collaboratively toward the goal of eliminating the two diseases, “We will work together to identify how each of our sectors can address existing gaps, mobilise resources and capabilities as well as the expertise needed to achieve our targets.”

Guinea-Bissau’s End Malaria and NTDs Council marks a remarkable milestone for the continent as the eighth country to launch its council, but the first to additionally address NTDs. Speaking at the launch, ALMA Special Ambassador Professor Sheila Tlou lauded Guinea-Bissau, noting that the Council’s commitment to addressing these public health problems will help achieve a unified response to diseases affecting children and other vulnerable populations.

“I am confident that this multisectoral partnership will help sustain the progress that has been made and mobilise the advocacy, action, and resources we need to defeat these diseases. And in doing so, the End Malaria and NTD Council will help achieve the Guinea-Bissau and the Africa that we all want,” added Ambassador Sheila.

Malaria remains a significant health threat in Guinea-Bissau, where it is a leading cause of illness and death. This burden limits the capacity of the country’s health system and its health workers to address other illnesses. Similarly, the country is endemic to NTDs such as schistosomiasis, trachoma, and soil-transmitted helminths. As such, concerted effort is paramount to ensure that these diseases are high on national development agenda and that adequate resources, both financial and in-kind, are mobilised to support their control and elimination.

ALMA is committed to supporting Guinea-Bissau’s bold efforts to combat malaria and NTDs by providing staffing support and sharing best practices and learnings from councils across the continent. To date, 13 countries have launched or announced End Malaria Councils and Funds (EMCs and EMFs), with another 12 in progress, and several have integrated EMCs into national strategies as the primary mechanism for mobilising multisectoral advocacy, action, and resources. The existing End Malaria Councils in Africa have mobilized commitments worth more than $32 million and have played a vital role in keeping malaria high on the agenda in their respective countries.

ALMA warmly congratulates the Republic of Guinea-Bissau on this outstanding accomplishment and looks forward to collaborating closely with the End Malaria and NTD Council as it strives towards a future free from malaria and NTDs.