African Health Ministers Vow to End Malaria Deaths

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Ministers of Health from African countries with the highest burden of malaria have pledged to combat deaths related to the disease. This information is contained in a statement issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday.

Gathering in Yaoundé, the ministers signed a declaration committing to provide stronger leadership and increased domestic funding for malaria control programmes.

They also promised to enhance malaria control efforts at the national and sub-national levels, ensure further investment in data technology, and apply the latest technical guidance in malaria control and elimination.

The ministers also promised to address the threat of malaria sustainably and equitably in the African region, where 95 per cent of malaria deaths occur globally.

The ministers in the declaration also promised to raise health sector investments to support infrastructure, personnel, and programme implementation; to improve multi-sectoral collaboration; and to create partnerships for funding, research, and innovation.

At the Yaoundé conference, co-hosted by WHO and the Government of Cameroon, ministers of health, global malaria partners, funding agencies, scientists, civil society organisations, and other key malaria stakeholders convened.

With four key aims, the ministerial conference aimed to review progress and challenges in achieving the targets of the WHO global malaria strategy and discuss mitigation strategies and funding for malaria.

To accelerate malaria mortality reduction in Africa, others should agree on effective strategies and responses and establish a roadmap for increased political commitment and societal engagement with a clear accountability mechanism.

Minister for Health of Cameroon, Mr Manaouda Malachie, emphasized that the declaration signifies the joint dedication of nations and partners to shield their populations from the severe impacts of malaria.

The African region, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania, was mentioned to bear approximately 70% of the global burden of malaria.

He mentioned that progress against malaria in these high-burden African countries has been stagnant since 2017, attributed to factors such as humanitarian crises, limited access to, and inadequate quality of health services.

Among the other factors mentioned by Malachie are climate change, gender-related barriers, biological threats like insecticide and drug resistance, and global economic crises.

”Fragile health systems and critical gaps in data and surveillance have compounded the challenge,” he said.

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