Health ministers from Africa’s eight Sahel countries have reaffirmed their commitment to eradicating the scourge of Malaria from the sub-region by the year 2030 with the recent launch of the Sahel Malaria Elimination Initiative, which seeks to accelerate the Sahelian region’s efforts to eliminate malaria.
The health ministers of Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and The Gambia announced the establishment of the new sub-regional platform on August 31, during a meeting held at Dakar, Senegal as part of “combine efforts on scaling up and sustaining universal coverage of anti-malarials and mobilizing financing for elimination.”
“Sahel countries recognize there is much to be gained by working together to hasten the end of malaria in the region,” says Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck, Senegal’s minister of state and member of the board of RBM Partnership to End Malaria, who was also pronounced as ambassador for the Sahel Malaria Elimination Initiative.
“By combining resources, introducing new tools, sharing best practices and coordinating efforts across borders to combat malaria, we can achieve more, faster. This is critical for improving people’s health and country’s health systems, which have a direct impact on country economies.”
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The health ministers also pledged to fast-track the introduction of innovative technologies to combat malaria and develop a sub-regional scorecard that will track progress towards the goal of eliminating malaria by 2030, according to a press release by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria on the launch of the initiative.
“With close to 20 million annual malaria cases, the Sahel region has seen both achievements and setbacks in the fight against the disease in recent years. Burkina Faso and Niger continue to be among the countries with high malaria burdens, whereas Senegal and The Gambia have made steady progress in reducing malaria cases and deaths,” adds the release.
The Sahel Malaria Elimination Initiative is said to be implemented by the governments of the eight countries of the Sahel sub-region, with the support of partners including the World Health Organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.