South Africa launched its national Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan for South Africa (2019-2023) at the beginning of August during the fifth Annual Southern Africa Malaria Research Conference in Pretoria. The Strategic Plan seeks to achieve zero malaria transmission by 2023. The South African Scorecard for Accountability and Action was launched during the meeting to help the country track performance against key indicators and take action to address areas of under-performance. Ms. Joy Phumaphi, ALMA Executive Secretary, congratulated the country on the Strategic Plan: “Ending malaria is a key building block to healthier and fulfilling lives. To achieve the South African National Development Plan 2030’s vision for economic prosperity we need increased investments in malaria and the broader health development agenda. Investing in health is investing in human capital development which is a precursor for inclusive economic growth and transformed societies.” South Africa has seen a significant reduction of the number of malaria cases the past ten years, with government funding contributing to the successful trajectory despite ongoing financing resourcing challenges. Their Strategic Plan is aligned with the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030, the Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030) and the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (2016–2030).
Ahead of the Global Fund Replenishment Conference to take place in Lyon, France, on 9-10 October, ALMA has been working with the African Union Commission to ensure support from African countries to the Fund but also to domestic investments in health on the Continent. At the last Replenishment, the Republic Benin, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Zimbabwe each made contributions to the Global Fund.
The M2030 initiative, which brings together the business community, consumers and health organizations in the fight against malaria, announced new partnerships and initiatives. Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan and pioneering partner of the M2030 movement, announced that it had raised US$30,000 as a result of its malaria campaign that ran between May and July. The funds will support NGO Population Services International in the implementation of its malaria programs in South -East Asia. Moreover, City Mart Holdings, the top retail chain in Myanmar, joined the M2030 campaign in July. The company has installed posters in many store locations to educate its customers on the importance of malaria elimination. Stores are also selling donation cards at checkout registers, enabling customers to give directly to malaria elimination programs in Myanmar.
Additionally, the fourth Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance Senior Official’s Meeting took place at the beginning of June. Senior Officials reaffirmed their commitment to the goal of a malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030, supporting in particular the call for a five-year progress review for the 2030 goal, as foreshadowed in the Roadmap, to refocus Leaders’ attention on addressing the toughest remaining challenges. They emphasized cross-border cooperation efforts between the government, the military, and civilians in India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia. The Senior Officials also raised concerns over the increasing resistance of parasites to artemisinin combination therapies in the region and recommended monitoring the situation and increasing collaboration on data sharing in this regard. This is particularly important as the Senior Officials noted that external funding will become scarcer and that domestic financing will be absolutely key to maintain malaria programs. They also highlighted the importance of engaging new actors in the fight against malaria, including the private sector. Finally, the Senior Officials welcomed whole-of-government responses from many countries and reiterated its support for the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN).
The East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting took place on 2nd August in Bangkok, where the Ministers reiterated their commitment to the goal of an Asia-Pacific free of malaria by 2030, noting that they will release a five-year progress report to APLMA in 2020 to evaluate the ongoing efforts of countries as part of the Malaria Elimination Roadmap for the region.
Finally, APLMA has been emphasizing the importance of quality medicine to fight malaria and of monitoring the disease as drug-resistance is spreading, ahead of the Global Fund’s Sixth Replenishment Conference.
Through a PMI initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) had awarded US$36 million in new funding for PMI partner countries to strengthen their malaria information systems and build capacity in malaria surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation. The award will supplement the USAID-funded MEASURE Evaluation project for five years.
PMI also shared statements from the U.S. Government on malaria during May’s World Health Assembly, where the U.S. government reiterated its support to the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030, and emphasized the need to combat drug-resistance and insecticide resistance especially in Africa.
The Global Fund is preparing for its Sixth Replenishment Conference that will take place in Lyon, France, on 9-10 October. It published its Funding Request Materials for the 2020-2022 Funding Cycle, which updates the allocation-based funding model for the upcoming Conference. Materials will be provided in English, but also in French and Spanish starting in September.
On 30 July, artists and athletes released an open letter to 7-year-olds promising to end AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria epidemics by 2030. The public is invited to sign this call-to-action to step up the fight against these three deadly diseases ahead of the Replenishment Conference.
Finally, the Global Fund celebrated the increase of 16 percent over the U.K.’s contribution compared to the previous Replenishment. This increase means that the U.K. government now matches up to the 100 million of investment from private sector organizations, so the aim is also to encourage stronger private sector engagement during the upcoming Replenishment cycle. Takeda Pharmaceuticals was the first company to make an early pledge to the Global Fund, making a commitment of approximately USD 9 million.