President Embaló urges African countries to allocate resources in their domestic budgets towards eliminating malaria

Published: Dar Es Salaam, 22 June 2024

His Excellency Umaro Sissoco Embaló, President of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau and Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), has called upon African countries to prioritise malaria in their national development agendas and allocate resources in their domestic budgets towards eliminating malaria. During his visit to the United Republic of Tanzania to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, H.E. Embaló emphasised the importance of Africa securing the necessary resources to win the fight against malaria.

The ALMA Chair noted that progress against malaria in Africa has stagnated, warning that the continent is at the centre of a perfect storm that threatens to disrupt essential life-saving malaria services and undo decades of progress. He stressed the urgent need for countries to act to mitigate the adverse effects of the ongoing financial crisis, increasing insecticide and drug resistance, climate change, and humanitarian crises.

These threats represent the most serious emergency facing malaria in 20 years and will lead to malaria upsurges and epidemics if not addressed. As countries, we must ensure that we allocate resources in our domestic budgets towards eliminating malaria. This will be an excellent return on investment, as we would see an additional $127 billion boost to African economies and an $81 billion boost to international trade if we eliminated malaria.

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

According to WHO, since 2015, the rate of progress in reducing both malaria cases and deaths has stalled in several countries. Africa is off track to meet its bold and ambitious target to meet the malaria-related targets of the AU’s Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa. Recognising the urgent need to lift Africa from this perfect storm, Health Ministers from African countries most burdened by malaria have pledged to substantially advance the fight and eliminate deaths caused by the disease. Under the Yaoundé Declaration, African countries are committed to intensifying their efforts through strong leadership, substantial investment in healthcare infrastructure, and innovative strategies to directly tackle the disease head-on.

During his courtesy visit to the ALMA Secretariat headquarters in Dar Es Salaam, H.E. Embaló thanked President Samia Suluhu Hassan and the government of Tanzania on behalf of the African continent for hosting the ALMA secretariat. He highlighted Tanzania’s significant contribution to the fight against malaria, one of the most formidable drivers of poverty on the continent. He emphasised the need for fostering shared responsibility, global solidarity, and partnerships to ensure the upcoming Global Fund replenishment is a success and that the resources mobilised are targeted to the highest burden countries and regions and support those with the least ability to pay.

The ALMA Chair urged all countries to follow the example set by the Republic of Guinea-Bissau and the United Republic of Tanzania in launching End Malaria Councils and Funds. These Councils, are coordinating a multisectoral, whole-of-society approach towards malaria elimination while also raising local resources, particularly from the private sector. They have begun mobilising in-kind and financial resources from the private and public sectors, as well as from civil societies and the community, with over USD 57 million already mobilised.

Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, in her remarks delivered by Hon. Ummy Mwalimu, MP, Minister of Health, United Republic of Tanzania, noted that Tanzania has made great strides in the fight against malaria by targeting the appropriate package of interventions to maximise impact, resulting in the reduction of malaria incidence from 50% in the 1990s to 8.1% in 2022.

It is crucial for Africa to prioritise local manufacturing of health commodities to enhance resilience and reduce import dependence. Tanzania is the continent’s largest producer of Insecticide Treated Nets, and we seek ALMA’s support to adopt new generation nets that address insecticide resistance. We also manufacture larvicides and request Africa CDC’s assistance to assess their quality for continental export.

Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania

Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan lauded the Ministry of Health for regularly updating her on the quarterly reports from the scorecards. She confirmed that Tanzania shares its scorecard on the ALMA Scorecard Hub for other countries to learn from their experiences and reported that, in recognition of these efforts, Tanzania has received an award for scorecard excellence and innovation from ALMA and the African Union Commission.

The two heads of state called upon countries to employ coordinated, structured approaches to ensure that malaria interventions are deployed where they will maximise impact and provide a high return on investment. Noting the recent severe climate change-related flooding, which resulted in loss of life, destruction of homes, businesses, and infrastructure, damage to crops, and the spread of cholera and vector-borne diseases like malaria, they emphasised that both mitigation and adaptation strategies must be implemented to prevent worsening conditions.

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