Addis Ababa, 25 April 2013 - The African Union jointly with the WHO Roll Back Malaria Partnership marked the commemoration of the 2013 World Malaria Day under the theme, “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria” in the presence of Dr Nkosasana Dlamini –Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union, Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, Commissioner of Social Affairs, Honorable African Health Ministers, representing the UN agencies, Dr Luis G. Sambo, the Regional Director of WHO Africa Re-gion, Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director, Roll back Malaria Partnership, high level delegates, health experts, representatives of UN agencies, partners and the Media.
In his welcoming remarks, Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, said “This is a watershed year for Africa, which marks 50 years of the Organization of Africa (OAU) and 10 years since the launch of the African Union. The 50th OAU/AU anniversary and African renaissance”, provide us with opportunities to take stock of the key milestones of the past 50 years in the fight against malaria. We as Africans must create innovative domestic/national health financing model. We cannot and should not continue to rely on external funding for health.”
Following the introduction by the AU Director of Social Affairs, a video film message of the UN secre-tary General, Ban Ki-moon on the World health Day and his call message was screened prior to the official opening remarks. The UNSG called upon countries to intensify efforts to defeat malaria through universal access to essential prevention and treatment interventions in order to improve maternal and child health, fight poverty and accelerate progress towards MDGs. He indicated that the cost of failure would be too high. Therefore, the funding gap must be filled to fulfill the vision of a malaria free world.
Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, Executive Director, Roll back Malaria Partnership, on her part commend-ed the progress gained over the past years in fighting malaria and indicated the 4 key elements that contributed for the success: Leadership, partnership, increased funding and innovation. Highlighting that sustaining and accelerating progress in the continent remain to be major challenges, Dr Fatou-mata Nafo-Traoré said “The momentum that has been built over the past years, if sustained, has the power to lift the burden of malaria from Africa and the world”.
Representing the UN agencies, Dr Luis G. Sambo, Regional Director for WHO Africa commended achievements made and results gained. He said, “The world Malaria Report 2012 indicates a 33% decrease in malaria deaths in Africa. During the same period, an estimated 1.1 million malaria deaths were averted”. Describing the burden that Malaria engender in the African region, Dr Sambo indicated that 90% of the 660 000, malaria deaths reported last year occurred in Africa.” He emphasized that increased domestic and external funding is needed to ensure that adequate quantities of commodities, including Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Net, Insecticides, rapid test, microscopes, reagents and antimalarial medicines are accessible and used rationally.”
Dr Sambo, called upon Politicians, Parliamentarians, Governments, private sector officials, civil sec-tor, faith based organizations and the mass media should support community based anti-malaria ac-tions to defeat malaria.
During the plenary discussions, commitments were made by Honorable Ministers of Health (Mozam-bique, Nigeria, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Burundi) with a focus on the urgency to strengthen ef-forts to control and eventually eliminate malaria through appropriate domestic and external funding, and sound use of proven cost-effective interventions.
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