The 21st meeting of the Malaria Policy Advisory Group (MPAG), part of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Global Malaria Programme (GMP), took place virtually this week, from 23 to 24 March. The Group convened to discuss technical issues related to malaria control and elimination in three sessions open to the public and a final, closed session, led by MPAG’s Chair.
A tone of appreciation was set for the MPAG meeting, as Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, started by thanking Dr Pedro Alonso, Director of the GMP, for his excellent work and dedication ahead of Dr Alonso’s retirement next week. WHO Technical Officer, Ms Eliane Furrer, led the first presentation to an audience of MPAG members and global health professionals, discussing the challenges of allocating the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine in the African context. The presentation described the overall framework and ethical principles that will guide the prioritisation of the vaccine allocation.
Senior adviser for the GMP, Dr Alastair Robb, opened the second day, sparking an engaged discussion on ‘rethinking’ the global response to malaria, focusing on the people who suffer the most – women and children. He stressed the importance of the global malaria community working with political and technical leaders in Africa to tackle multipronged challenges of COVID-19, conflict, and climate. Partners, including Malaria Consortium contributed to this extensive consultation process.
Dr Abdisalan Noor, team leader of the Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the GMP in Geneva, shared information on the global framework for responding to urban cases of malaria – which aims to guide countries to develop policies, strategies and plans that are system-wide and multi-sectoral in urban areas. Malaria Consortium’s Dr Arantxa Roca-Feltrer, who leads the Malaria Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Working Group, congratulated Dr Noor’s team for collating the information and suggested action plans and results framework tools were incorporated to support countries with assessing potential financial gaps. Dr Roca-Feltrer also emphasised the importance of capacity development to ensure that areas that malaria programmes will focus on would have the right expertise, tools and analytical capacity to respond to these potential new requirements.
The final report of the MPAG’s 21st meeting will be published later this year. The next MPAG meeting will take place from 11 to 13 October 2022.
Photo credit: Annie Spratt Unsplash