Malaria is one of the ‘best buys’ in Global Health

Op-ed by Dr James Tibenderana, Malaria Consortium Development Director, on the launch of two new malaria strategies

At this week’s 3rd International Financing for Development meeting in Addis Ababa, the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership present their 2015-2030 strategies during a financing for malaria side meeting.

Both strategies – WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 (GTS) and RBM’s Action and Investment to defeat Malaria 2016-2030 (AIM) – for a malaria free world – will be shaping the future of health development by saving more than 10 million lives and averting nearly 3 billion cases worldwide. Together, these documents chart the investment and collective actions needed to reach the 2030 malaria goals and reach a malaria-free world.

Malaria Consortium, UK’s leading malaria NGO and a partner of RBM, made a significant contribution to the development of the GTS: through the WHO Malaria Policy Advisory Committee of which our Technical Director Dr Sylvia Meek is a member, by sharing its technical expertise into online consultations and by translating evidence and learning of our work into practical advice for the strategy.

I am delighted to see both strategies highlight the huge health and economic benefits that result from investing in eliminating malaria while demonstrating malaria is one of the ‘best buys’ in Global Health. Meeting the 2030 malaria targets will generate more than US $4 trillion of additional economic output across the 2016-2030 timeframe.

Though the world has made dramatic progress – malaria mortality rates have decreased by 54 percent in Africa, much remains to be done. Nearly 300 million people in sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to a protective insecticide-treated net, and at least 15 million pregnant women do not receive the protective treatment they need to keep themselves and their unborn child healthy. Each year, malaria costs the African continent an estimated minimum of US $12 billion in lost productivity.

History demonstrates that maintaining gains made fighting malaria are dependant on sufficient and sustained investment. Since the 1930s, there have been 75 documented resurgences of malaria reported in 61 countries, the majority linked to reduced or suspended funding for malaria programmes.

We therefore call on governments, donors and partners to continue to work together – within and between sectors and across borders.

I am proud to see today’s event marks a milestone in global health history and the start of a new era in development.

Dr James Tibenderana, Malaria Consortium Development Director