Reverend Kativa Tchitango lives in the far southeast corner of Angola, a three-day drive from the capital, Luanda. In his province of Cuando Cubango, there has typically been about one case of malaria diagnosed every year for every two citizens; Last year, there were 298,296 cases reported within his province. And though malaria affects people of all ages, 70% of those who die from malaria are children under age 5.
Because of its ubiquity, malaria has been regarded as an unquestioned inevitability. But it does not need to be that way: malaria is easily prevented, diagnosed, and treated. Over the past two years, there has been a rapid expansion in Cuando Cubango of the availability of free insecticide-treated mosquito nets (which protect those sleeping inside the nets) and indoor residual spraying (which kills mosquitoes that land on the walls of a treated house). Since malaria is only caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, using these tools dramatically reduces the risk of catching malaria. Pocket-sized rapid diagnostic tests have also become more widely available, and they give an accurate malaria diagnosis with just a drop of blood within minutes - and without requiring on electricity. Good treatment is also more widely available, which completely cures malaria in three days through just a few tablets. The Angolan Ministry of Health in partnership with Elimination 8 Secretariat has supported the expansion of these tools and services, with financial support from the Global Fund and the Gates Foundation.
However, in a culture where malaria has been ubiquitous, these tools are not automatically accepted by all. It takes time to get used to tucking in a net over the bed and under the mattress every night. It takes courage to allow sprayers into the house, with their menacing head-to-toe protective coverings. When a child has a fever, rushing to a health provider has not been the obvious first step, considering the journey has been far (especially when carrying a small child) and too often there is no help available once there. So faith leaders like Rev. Tchitango have had a key role in encouraging people to take advantage of these tools. They have a powerful voice in their own communities, and have led by example by taking advantage of these tools in their own household. Rev Tchitango is proud that he has not contracted malaria since 2017, when he started sleeping under a mosquito net. In addition to modeling healthy practices, faith leaders like Rev. Tchitango have mobilized and supported teams of lay volunteers to do door-to-door teaching and support with net hang-up.
Today we celebrate Rev. Tchitango and the other faith leaders who have recognized that their role as shepherd and pastor includes working for the physical health of those in their communities. We celebrate the hundreds of community malaria volunteers we work with in Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, who daily serve as anti-malaria ambassadors, spreading the good news that malaria is preventable and treatable. They are saving lives in remote communities. On their behalf, Chris Flowers has accepted the Malaria No More UK Commonwealth Honours, which recognizes all those involved in the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative for their community led response in areas that are particularly vulnerable to malaria yet often underserved by health services.
Anglican Clergy Showcase Leadership in Fight against Malaria in Southern Africa during Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative Round Table
This article was originally posted by Episcopal News Service.
Anglican clergy gathered in Livingstone, Zambia on 28 February and 1 March at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative’s annual Round Table to discuss the important role of faith communities in malaria elimination. The Honourable Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, the Minister of Health of Zambia, formally opened the meeting and joined the clergy in their support for increased community and church engagement.
“It is our role as a church to be involved in health-related matters,” said the Most Reverend Albert Chama, Archbishop of the Church of the Province of Central Africa. “When we talk about the healing of people, it is not only spiritual but also physically that they are healed…We need to take a front seat so that we can be able to inform people the dangers of malaria, so that it can be prevented.”
Read full article from Episcopal News Service here.
WHO and partners launch new country-led response to put stalled malaria control efforts back on track
This press release was originally published by the World Health Organization on November 19, 2018.
Reductions in malaria cases have stalled after several years of decline globally, according to the new World malaria report 2018. To get the reduction in malaria deaths and disease back on track, WHO and partners are joining a new country-led response, launched today, to scale up prevention and treatment, and increased investment, to protect vulnerable people from the deadly disease.
For the second consecutive year, the annual report produced by WHO reveals a plateauing in numbers of people affected by malaria: in 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria, compared to 217 million the year before. But in the years prior, the number of people contracting malaria globally had been steadily falling, from 239 million in 2010 to 214 million in 2015.
“Nobody should die from malaria. But the world faces a new reality: as progress stagnates, we are at risk of squandering years of toil, investment and success in reducing the number of people suffering from the disease,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We recognise we have to do something different – now. So today we are launching a country-focused and -led plan to take comprehensive action against malaria by making our work more effective where it counts most – at local level.”
Read the full press release here.
This article was originally published by PMI.
When malaria tests are offered in Lusaka, Zambia, Anglican Bishop David Njovu and a village leader are often the first to be tested in order to set an example. This community-level testing and treatment is made possible in part due to investments provided by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), which Bishop Njovu says has led to a “dramatic change” in the malaria situation in Zambia.
Another way the bishop helps address malaria in his community is by encouraging his priests to speak about proper malaria prevention and treatment. To keep from ostracizing people, they do not outright condemn traditional healing, but instead invite healthcare professionals to educate the community on malaria basics. Prayer coexists with modern medicine.
Bishop Njovu shared all of this during a recent multi-city tour of the U.S. and the U.K. with three other Anglican bishops from Southern Africa: Archbishop Albert Chama from Church of the Province of Central Africa, Bishop Luke Pato of the Diocese of Namibia, and Bishop André Soares of the Diocese of Angola. The visit was hosted by the J.C. Flowers Foundation as a part of the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative with the intention of encouraging policymakers to rethink the role of faith leaders and communities in the fight against malaria.
Read the full article here.
The video below, produced by the Anglican Communion News Service, features Anglican Bishops from Central and Southern Africa, who are working in partnership with the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative to eliminate malaria from remote, last mile communities.
Southern African Anglican Delegation Urge Policy Makers to Rethink the Role of Faith Leaders to Eliminate Malaria
Going “the last mile”—the most difficult and important mile of all—is critical to win the fight against malaria
NEW YORK (Sept. 29, 2018) – In Africa, which is home to 91 percent of malaria deaths worldwide, victory against the disease is within reach. Yet to truly eliminate malaria, which claims one life every two minutes, we must put all of our energies to go “the very last mile”—the most difficult and important mile of them all. This not only requires additional funding, it also demands that we push deep into the most remote and low-resource settings in the world to make effective interventions acceptable and accessible to all. This week, five Anglican Church leaders from southern Africa arrive in New York to urge policymakers to rethink the role of faith leaders and communities in the fight against malaria.
“It is essential that we build on the established relationships that faith leaders have in rural and remote communities, for we are the readily accepted messengers, and in this role, we can not only help save lives, but advance a shared global goal to eliminate this disease from our region,” said Archbishop Albert Chama, Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa. “With the tremendous gains to build on, now, more than any other time in the history of our fight against malaria, we must also secure the funding needed to eliminate it,” Chama added.
Malaria claims the lives of approximately 445,000 people a year, 70 percent of whom are in children under 5 years of age. Among children, it is estimated that up to 50 percent of preventable school absenteeism in high-burden African countries is caused by malaria, which costs Africa $12 billion in lost GDP annually.
“Winning the battle against malaria is not a sprint, it’s a long, grueling marathon, and we must go the last mile,” said Neville Isdell, co-founder of the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, which is hosting the delegation visit. “It’s clear that if we are able to get a Coke to the most distant villages in the world, we can also get the essentials to eliminate malaria,” stated Isdell, who is former chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. He added: “But proven tools to eliminate malaria will not work if people don’t use them. The Church's active work in communities to change people’s behavior is a game changer in the fight against the disease.”
Over a decade of unprecedented global efforts and resources have ushered in critical successes. In 2016 there were 21 million fewer malaria cases than in 2010. From 2007 to 2017, malaria deaths were cut by more than half. Among countries in southern Africa, Zambia is an exceptional example. Boosting government funding for malaria programs from $8.5 million in 2015 to $28 million today has reduced malaria-related deaths there by 70 percent in the past five years alone.
Isdell:Flowers, working with community religious leaders to strengthen surveillance, community education, diagnosis and treatment, seeks to couple an evidence-based elimination strategy with an enabling environment—of strong political will and financial support.
“With funding, perseverance and creative solutions, the fight against malaria is ours to win,” stated Christopher Flowers, CEO of J.C. Flowers & Co and co-founder of Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative. He noted that for every dollar we invest in malaria, there is a $36 return in increased productivity. “It’s not only a smart investment, it propels us toward the last mile and toward our collective aim of global malaria eradication.”
Archbishop Chama is joined by four Anglican Church leaders in the region: Bishop David Njovu, Diocese of Lusaka, Zambia; Bishop Cleophas Lunga, Diocese of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe; Bishop Luke Pato, Diocese of Namibia; and Bishop André Soares, Diocese of Angola. The delegation will arrive in New York City on Oct. 2, to meet with representatives at the United Nations and members of the Council on Foreign Relations, before traveling onward to Washington, DC to meet with members of Congress and students and faculty at Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA.
NOTE TO MEDIA – J.C. Flowers Foundation is hosting the visit as a part of a the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, which is dedicated to the elimination of malaria by shrinking the malaria map. The Initiative's work is in the last mile, cross border areas of Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These highly mobile populations are hard to reach yet are often responsible for significant malaria transmission into neighboring countries.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Rebecca Vander Meulen, Executive Director, J.C. Flowers Foundation
212 404 6890
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:
+44 7939 141764
The J.C. Flowers Foundation works with a wide range of partners to solve critical health and social problems affecting hard to reach, or “last mile,” communities. The Foundation seeks maximum impact from its investments by partnering with other funding organizations, governments, and local, grassroots organizations with expertise and presence in communities often overlooked by traditional donors. For more information go to: www.jcflowersfoundation.org.
Amid Rising Malaria Cases, Sixteen Southern African Countries Step up Commitments to End the Deadly Disease by 2030
We are please to share the following press release, highlighting new commitments from Southern African countries to defeat malaria and work across country borders to do so.
Windhoek, Namibia Monday, August 20, 2018
In response to rising cases of malaria in the region, countries across southern Africa are stepping up commitments to eliminate the disease by 2030. On August 18, sixteen Heads of State signed the “Windhoek Declaration on Eliminating Malaria in the SADC Region” at the 38th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). In the Declaration, these countries endorse key actions to put the region back on track to achieving global malaria elimination targets.
Progress in the malaria fight is fragile
Malaria is one of the most pressing health issues facing sub-Saharan Africa, with around 90% of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide occurring in the continent. In 2016, there were more than 47 million cases in the SADC region alone, primarily among children under the age of five. Over the past fifteen years, SADC countries have made unprecedented progress in the malaria fight, decreasing deaths from malaria by half. Progress was a result of robust political commitment, infusions of global and domestic funding, and wide-scale implementation of effective tools to improve prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of the disease.
However, the region’s hard-won gains are fragile. In the last few years, funding for malaria has flatlined, and a number of countries in the region have seen a subsequent increase in cases. According to the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), which maintains a quarterly scorecard to track national progress on malaria, four countries in the SADC region are considered off-track and progress in seven additional countries is considered at risk.
“We have now reached a crossroad whereby if we increase our efforts we shall move towards elimination.” Said HM King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini and Chair of ALMA. “But if we continue business as usual we will see the loss of the huge gains that have been made in the fight against malaria and continue to be burdened with [the disease].”
Windhoek Declaration to reinvigorate malaria elimination efforts
The Windhoek Declaration comes at a pivotal moment in southern Africa’s malaria fight, reaffirming country commitments to elimination at the highest political level and reigniting progress to meet new challenges head on. Approved by Ministers of Health and signed by Heads of State from all sixteen SADC countries -- Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe -- the Windhoek Declaration also shows strong regional leadership in advancing a continent-wide pledge to eliminate the disease made at the 2016 Africa Union Summit.
Specifically, the declaration calls for increased resource allocation from country governments to address gaps in funding and supportive policies to promote malaria elimination, as well as measures to improve data-sharing and program implementation, and establish national malaria elimination taskforces. Some countries – including Eswatini, Namibia, and South Africa – have already undertaken efforts to quantify and address financial gaps at the domestic level. In addition, countries are improving accountability and action on malaria elimination by tracking progress through the ALMA Scorecard.
These efforts will complement those of the existing SADC Elimination Eight (E8), an initiative created by SADC in 2009 to pioneer a sub-regional malaria elimination strategy in eight of the sixteen SADC countries. The E8 focuses on facilitating the sharing of best practices, data, and expertise, strengthening efficiency and effectiveness, and building a model that can be adapted across other SADC countries and beyond.
“We know we can eliminate malaria in SADC.” Said Dr. Richard Kamwi, E8 Ambassador and former Namibia Minister of Health. “We have leadership and vision, and are united to achieve this shared goal. The signing of the Windhoek Declaration will strengthen an historic movement to liberate African countries from the burden of malaria once and for all, and unlock the potential of millions across the region.”
SADC countries must work together to achieve elimination
SADC ‘s mission is to bring together southern African nations to chart a bold vision for their shared future. Drawing on each country’s own unique strengths, SADC member states collaborate on common goals, an approach that is also critically important in the fight to eliminate malaria. Countries in southern Africa area already extensively interconnected, with high levels of migration and mobility that allow for malaria-infected mosquitoes and people to easily national borders. “The progress or failure of one country’s efforts to eliminate malaria is connected to the success of other countries in the region.” Said the Honourable Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Chair of the SADC Council of Ministers and Deputy Prime Minister of Namibia. “…If we work together, we can certainly achieve more.”
Media contact: Michelle Geis Wallace, Burness Communications, +254 711 326 770 or email@example.com
Phelele Fakudze, +264 811 413 382 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Roll Back Malaria Partnership recently released its July newsletter, highlighting recent events, including the launch of a global malaria campaign led by the African Union Commission. Read the full newsletter here.
Community-Based Malaria Intervention on the Angola-Namibia Border Showed Impact on Child Health According to Recent Evaluation
A study released on June 4th showed that the Trans Kunene Malaria Initiative (TKMI) reduced the odds of child fever by 54 percent.
The article, authored by Aayush Khadka et al., examined the impact of the TKMI intervention, which included bet net distribution and house to house malaria education and behavior change communication, between May 2014 and July 2016.
The authors concluded that the effectiveness of community-based malaria programmes "strongly depends on concurrent efforts made in neighbouring areas" -- making the case for cross border malaria work as championed by the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative.
Read the full article here.
The Angolan Ministry of Health, The Council of Christian Churches in Angola (CICA), the Diocese of Angola, and the J.C. Flowers Foundation are dedicated to eliminating malaria from the most remote, hard to reach communities along the Angola-Namibia border.
To date, these partners, who comprise the Trans Kunene Malaria Initiative (TKMI) have facilitated community action against malaria in 215 villages in the Southern Municipalities of Cunene and Cuando Cubango Provinces through the formation of Community Malaria Elimination Committees (“COCEMAS”).
Read more about their work here.