Tanzania steps war against malaria

Determined to lessen the malaria burden, the United Republic of Tanzania has announced the launch of its national Zero Malaria Starts With Me campaign, becoming the 11th nation to join the ever-growing Pan-African movement.

Tanzania is among the highest-burden countries with 93% of the population at risk of malaria

The campaign was launched during the Southern African Community (SADC) Malaria Day that was commemorated on the sidelines of the SADC Health Minister’s Meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. At the national level, the campaign seeks to mobilise political will, additional resources (especially from domestic sources), and community ownership in the fight against malaria.

Significant progress has been made in Africa with a 40% reduction in mortality rates and 20% reduction of incidence in this decade alone. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) World Malaria Report showed that for the last two years, global malaria cases were on the rise. Zero Malaria Starts With Me therefore aims to speed up progress by inspiring a continent-wide movement to drive malaria elimination.

Malaria accounts for 5per cent of global malaria deaths.

By this move, Tanzania joins Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Eswatini, Niger, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Mauritania and Mozambique to have rolled out national Zero Malaria initiatives since the Pan-African launch led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Union Commission in July 2018. Starting in Senegal in 2014, the Zero Malaria Movement now spans across the continent.

Alongside the launch of its Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, Tanzanian officials commemorated SADC Malaria Day with the launch of the Tanzania malaria scorecard that will further enhance accountability and action towards malaria control and elimination. An innovative app was also launched to enhance the use of the scorecard to drive action, including by parliamentarians.

The launch also saw a visit to the country’s Medical Stores Department – an autonomous department responsible for the delivery and management of approved medicines and medical supplies and included demonstrations of vector control including LLINs and larvicides showcasing how African countries are moving towards local manufacturing of anti-malaria commodities.

The launch of the Zero Malaria Starts With Me Campaign builds on our sustained efforts to make sure that malaria prevention and treatment services are decentralized and reach all areas in need. The campaign will foster partnerships and support our work in resource mobilisation and accountability. However to achieve effective results and eliminate malaria we need to ensure that we reach and mobilise our communities to be active champions in malaria prevention and treatment.

“We are thrilled that Tanzania has joined the ever-growing list of nations to declare Zero Malaria Starts with Me on SADC Malaria Day. As a high burden country, this is an important moment for Tanzania to make progress against the disease, and ultimately end malaria. Through this initiative, communities will be able to hold their leaders accountable in the fight against malaria, to ensure that much-needed progress is driven. We believe that we are stronger when we work together, and we hope that other high-burden nations follow Tanzania in stepping up the fight and joining our campaign to save even more lives from this deadly, but treatable disease,” said Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, Chief Executive Officer, RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary, The African Leaders Malaria Alliance, said the launch of the Zero Malaria Starts With Me Campaign and the Tanzania malaria scorecard for accountability and action and accompanying app reaffirms the commitment of the Tanzanian leadership to achieve national and continental targets to eliminate malaria by 2030.

Phumaphi added that increasing domestic investments in malaria including an increased role for the private sector to work with the public sector to mobilise ring-fenced resources for malaria will ensure that the responses are sustainable, contributing to healthier lives, human capital development and shared prosperity and economic growth.

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