The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), a Pan-African advocacy group of journalists and scientists, has called on governments of malaria endemic countries to invest in the fight against malaria to fill the funding gap.
According to the group, unless countries found innovative ways to mobilise adequate resources to bridge the funding gap, malaria resurgence would likely take more lives in Africa.
This was contained in a statement signed and issued by Dr Charity Binka, Executive Secretary of AMMREN, in Accra yesterday on the occasion of this year’s World Malaria Day.
The theme for the Day is « Zero Malaria Starts with Me – Draw the Line Against Malaria, » a theme which builds on the « Zero Malaria Starts with Me » campaign movement started nearly three years ago.
The theme aims at highlighting the successes of countries around the world and to inspire a new group of countries that have the potential to eliminate the disease by 2025.
« Zero Malaria must start with the presidents. Together we can draw the line against Malaria and the time is now. Certainly, this is not the time for countries with a high burden of malaria to lose ground.
It is important to note that malaria elimination is possible and critical to fighting other current and future diseases that may emerge, » the statement noted.
It explained that malaria could be defeated with concerted efforts by individuals and governments of countries where the disease is endemic adding that the disease could be subdued with the current available tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
The statement said that in 2019, the global tally of malaria cases was 229 million and the disease claimed some 409,000 lives in 2019 compared to 411 000 in 2018 with Africa shouldering more than 90 per cent of the overall disease burden.
Referencing the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) latest World Malaria Report, it said progress against malaria continued to plateau, particularly in high burden countries in Africa, noting that a funding shortfall at both the international and domestic levels, poses a significant threat to future gains.
In 2019, the statement said total funding reached US $3 billion against a global target of $5.6 billion, leading to critical gaps in access to proven malaria control tools.
It said the 2020 World Malaria Report noted that a 10 per cent disruption in access to effective antimalarial treatment in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to 19,000 additional deaths in the region.
The statement advised people to get tested for malaria and receive the care they need and charged individuals to be responsible in the use of treated mosquito nets and other available tools.