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.”
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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.
On April 25th, Isdell:Flowers teams from Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe celebrated World Malaria Day by educating people about malaria, and mobilizing them to seek testing and treatment for the disease.
Since 2000, the world has made historic progress against malaria and millions of lives have been saved. However, progress in many sub Saharan countries has stalled, highlighting a need for increased investment in the fight against malaria.
In Angola, representatives from the government, the faith community, and other nonprofit partners joined together throughout Cunene and Cuando Cubango provinces in order to raise awareness of malaria. In Ondjiva, Cunene, Volunteers from the Trans Kunene Malaria Initiative performed skits to educate the community, and demonstrated how to hang up and properly used bed nets. King Mario Sachipamba was in attendance, and received a bed net and a malaria test.
Events were also held throughout the province of Cuando Cubango, with the largest taking place in Cuangar. Representatives from all political parties, non profit partners, and traditional and religious authorities joined together for malaria teaching. Net hanging demonstrations, and malaria testing and treatment was also offered.
In Calai, Cuando Cubango, malaria testing was carried out. Of the 140 people who received tests, 40 were positive for malaria and received treatment. Bed nets were also distributed by CICA/ J.C. Flowers.
In Namibia, similar activities were carried out by the TKMI team near the Angolan border, in Omundaungilo Constituency. Representatives from the Anglican Aids Programme, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the Elimination 8 Initiative, the Red Cross, and more were in attendance. Volunteers and field workers performed malaria poems and songs, and malaria quiz competitions took place. Testing and treatment was provided.
In Zambia, malaria testing and treatment was carried out. In Livingstone, 2,321 people were tested. 30 people tested positive for malaria.
Monica Mvula, Isdell: Flowers Programme Coordinator, participated in the testing and treatment capaign in Sikongo District, Western Province. After discovering a positive case, she tested 25 people in the nearby households and 3 were positive.
Zambia's National Malaria Elimination Centre (NMEC) convened a World Malaria Day celebration in Kabwe Central Province. During the event, the Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya launched the country's Malaria Inidicator Survey, in addition to new ITN and treatment guidelines.
NEW YORK, NY, April 16, 2018 – The J.C. Flowers Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Rebecca J. Vander Meulen as Executive Director. Vander Meulen will succeed Susan Lassen who will become Chairman. In addition, Vander Meulen will oversee the Anne and Chris Flowers Foundation.
Vander Meulen will manage the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, which supports malaria elimination programs in Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. She will also oversee the Harlem Circles of Support Initiative, which focuses on successful reentry of people coming home from prison to Harlem, New York.
Vander Meulen has served as the Isdell:Flowers Senior Director for Africa since 2017. For the past 15 years, she was the Community Development Director in the Anglican Diocese of Niassa (northern Mozambique) where she oversaw the formation of more than 400 social action groups comprising more than 10,000 community volunteers.
“Rebecca’s extensive experience in mobilizing and supporting ‘last mile’ communities will contribute to the mission of the J.C. Flowers Foundation as we address critical health and social problems affecting vulnerable populations,” said Chris Flowers, Founder of the J.C. Flowers Foundation.
In 2003, Vander Meulen earned a Master’s in Public Health in International Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, which in 2009 awarded her with the Matthew Lee Girvin Young Alumni Award in recognition of her dedication to the field of public health and her significant contributions toward improving the lives and health of others. She is also a graduate of Calvin College and a recipient of the St. Mellitus Medal, Order of St Mellitus, conferred by the Bishop of London in recognition of her HIV and community development work in the Diocese of London’s partner Diocese of Niassa.
“I am delighted to join the J.C. Flowers Foundation as Executive Director,” said Vander Meulen. “I look forward to walking alongside those in Harlem and in Africa who are transforming their communities, and to facilitating dialogue between policy-makers and communities.”
Vander Meulen will begin her new role on July 1, 2018, and be located in New York.
J.C. Flowers Foundation Executive Director, Susan Lassen, recently spoke with Inside Philanthropy about the Foundation's founders, Chris and Anne Flowers. The article highlights the commitment of Chris and Anne to support "last mile" communities often overlooked by traditional donors.
"Anne and Chris are very unusual because they travel, and they visit, and they sit under the tree, and they listen to the story," Susan says. The foundation has over 1,000 volunteers who they've trained and who work on malaria in their communities. "It's an amazing network," she says.
Read the full article here.
Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative Round Table Meeting to be Held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative is preparing for its annual Round Table meeting, taking place in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on March 1st and 2nd.
The meeting will bring together leading malaria scientists, nonprofit, government, and faith-based partners, as well as field staff from the border regions of Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This year's meeting will focus on new and emerging tools and strategies for malaria elimination.
Over the past decade, the SADC region has steadily progressed towards malaria elimination. However, many countries have experienced recent outbreaks and stalled progress. Through productive debate and discussion, the Initiative hopes to:
This December, the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative worked in partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Health and MACEPA to support the training of more than 180 Community Health Workers (CHWs). These CHWs will be at the forefront of malaria elimination efforts in some of the hardest to reach communities in Western Province, Zambia.
The Lusaka Times reported on the importance of the training. To read the article, click here.