Cameroon becomes the 24th African country to launch the Zero Malaria Starts with Me (ZMSWM) campaign
The Republic of Cameroon has become the 24th African country to launch the Zero Malaria Starts With Me (ZMSWM) campaign. Zero Malaria Starts With Me is a pan-African campaign that was endorsed by African Union leaders at their 31st Summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018 to fast track the implementation of the malaria related targets of the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030.
Launched in Yaoundé last week under the national theme “Stop Malaria”, the campaign is critical to Cameroon’s fight against malaria seeing that the disease, according to the country’s Ministry of Health accounts for at least 6 million infections per year. The World Health Organization further notes that 30 people die from Malaria in Cameroon daily.
The campaign which mainly targets pregnant women and children under the age of 5 who are the most vulnerable and form the largest majority of annual deaths (70% of all annual malaria deaths) aims to reduce and ultimately stop infections in line with the continental vision of ending malaria in Africa by 2030.
The national advocacy campaign is spearheaded by Cameroon’s First Lady, Her Excellency Chantal Biya and is supported by other multi-sectoral stakeholders including: African Synergies, Ministry of Communication, America’s Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, USA President Malaria Initiative, World Health Organisation, Impact Santé Afrique, Breakthrough Action and Youth Action.
Speaking during the launch, Cameroon’s Minister, of Public Health, Dr. Manouda Malachie noted the country’s plans to further galvanise more resources and nation-wide support to drive the progress of the country’s efforts towards malaria elimination. This, he announced would be realised through the launch of the Malaria Leaders Forum (MLF) later in the year. MLF will constitute of leaders drawn from an array of areas including the private sector, public sector, religious institutions amongst others who will work together to support national anti-malaria campaigns through domestic resource mobilisation and advocacy. The establishment of the MLF is in line with His Excellency’s President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance’s four-point agenda part of which calls for African States to establish End Malaria Councils and Funds. This is an innovative resource mobilisation mechanism centered around coordinated senior multi -sectoral and multi- stakeholder engagement to drive action against malaria.
Congratulating Cameroon on their determined leadership in the “Stop Malaria” Campaign, ALMA’s Executive Secretary, Joy Phumaphi noted the significance of sustained investments in malaria interventions against the backdrop of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
“Malaria is a pathfinder for pandemic preparedness. Investing in malaria will increase our capacity for disease surveillance and rapid response to outbreaks, strengthen supply chains, and enhance data and accountability digital tools, such as national scorecards. In the course of defeating malaria, you will build new capabilities that will help in future disease outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics,” she stated.
Initially to be implemented over a period of 12-months in 10 of the country’s malaria endemic regions, “Stop Malaria” will see 7,000 Community Health Workers deployed to take action in communities to end malaria including engaging key leaders to join action to defeat the scourge.
Cameroon’s launch of the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” comes at the critical time of the Global Fund’s 7th Replenishment. Through its bold action, Cameroon like other African states who have subscribed to the campaign demonstrates the commitment of African leaders to invest in health as a top priority and echo the spirit of solidarity and shared responsibility in the fight against malaria.
About Zero Malaria Starts with Me
The continent-wide Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign was endorsed by African Union leaders at their 31st Summit in July 2018 in support of the AU goal to end malaria by 2030. The campaign, co-led by the African Union and RBM Partnership to End Malaria, to spark a grassroots movement by engaging political leaders at all levels, mobilizing resources and funding, and empowering communities to take ownership of malaria efforts and hold leaders accountable in the fight against malaria.
The Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement directly supports the African Union Commission’s African Leadership Meeting (ALM) Investing in Health objectives, by increasing domestic resources for health and reorienting health systems in Africa.
To find out more information about Zero Malaria Starts with Me and to access the toolkit, please visit https://zeromalaria.africa/