ALMA statement on Africa Day 2024

Published: 25 May 2024

On this Africa Day, we stand united in acknowledging the challenges and renewing our commitment to defeating malaria. Africa is at the center of a perfect storm threatening to disrupt essential life-saving malaria services. We face growing threats that increase the risk of malaria cases and deaths, including financial shortfalls for malaria programs, climate change, insecticide and drug resistance, and humanitarian crises.

The financial gap is significant. Member States will face a $1.5 billion budget shortfall by 2026, to sustain current malaria interventions. An additional USD $5.2 billion is needed for Africa to progress towards elimination. Furthermore, $11 billion is necessary annually for climate adaptation in the health sector, and at least $400 million is required immediately for next-generation commodities to tackle insecticide resistance and drug resistance.

The Anopheles stephensi mosquito, more likely to transmit malaria in urban areas, poses a growing concern, especially as Africa rapidly urbanizes. Climate change worsens the situation, with Africa contributing only 4% of global carbon emissions yet facing disproportionate climate-induced disasters, increasing the burden of malaria and other vector-borne diseases.

Furthermore, Africa still bears the greatest malaria burden, with 94% of global malaria cases and 95% of malaria deaths occurring here in 2023. Children under five are the most affected, comprising 78% of all malaria deaths in the region. Progress against this disease has stalled since 2015, putting Africa off track to meet its ambitious target of eliminating malaria by 2030.

However, the elimination of malaria in Cabo Verde illustrates that it is possible to win the fight against malaria. Cabo Verde’s recent WHO certification as a malaria-free nation stands as a testament to what can be achieved with unwavering commitment and collective action. Prioritising malaria elimination at the highest levels and ensuring strong multisectoral collaboration has resulted in a healthier future and serves as an inspiring example for Africa.

As such, strong political will from our Heads of State and Governments is essential. Amidst the global scramble to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, our leaders demonstrated exceptional foresight by maintaining momentum in the fight against malaria. This exemplifies the impact of political will in navigating health emergencies.

The recent signing of the Yaoundé Declaration demonstrates strong commitment from African leaders to revitalise the fight against malaria. Under this declaration, African countries are committed to intensifying efforts through strong leadership, substantial investment, and innovative strategies to tackle malaria directly.

This Africa Day comes just before the 77th World Health Assembly, a gathering of global health leaders and policymakers. It is a key moment to recognise our collective responsibility in the world’s pressing health problems. We urge the international community to seize this opportunity to show solidarity in the fight against malaria, especially as we approach replenishment cycles for key global development funds like the Global Fund and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Malaria cannot be defeated without increased funding. Therefore, we call for solidarity to ensure the full replenishment of these funds and to at least maintain malaria’s current share in the Global Fund disease split, ensuring the sustained implementation of essential malaria interventions.

As the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), we reiterate our commitment to supporting Africa’s malaria control and elimination efforts through advanced health information systems, capacity building, and coordination mechanisms. We further commit to support the integration of malaria services into primary healthcare, mobilise resources, support research and innovation, and promote Africa-based manufacturing. Additionally, we will track progress and ensure that the Yaoundé Declaration’s priorities are embedded in regional agendas.

We join African members states in calling for renewed commitment to fighting malaria with unwavering determination, collaborative partnerships, and sustained accountability. By translating the commitments of the Yaoundé Declaration into action, we can ensure that no one succumbs to this preventable disease. Together, we can realise the vision of a malaria-free Africa and set Africa on a path towards socio-economic development.