Niger launches continental campaign to end Malaria
Commits to eliminate the disease as a public health threat by 2030
Niamey, 25 October 2018- Niger on Thursday last week launched the Zero Malaria Starts with Me, a continent-wide campaign to end the disease as a public health threat by 2030. Endorsed by Heads of State and Government at the 31st Summit of the African Union in July 2018, the campaign is an initiative of the African Union and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria to engage all members of society towards the elimination of the disease. The meeting brought together various players in the malaria community in Niger, the Roll Back Partnership, the African Union Commission, the Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance, ministers, members of the diplomatic corps and various key stakeholders.
"I declare launched the pan-African campaign, Zero Malaria Starts with Me in Niger. Long live multilateral cooperation for a Niger without malaria! It is critical that we mobilise leaders, communities, the private sector and the media at various levels to fight this disease, which is the main cause of morbidity and mortality in Niger and a threat to economic development," said Dr Idi Illiassou Mainassara, the Minister of Public Health of Niger.
Niger has made the fight against malaria a priority in its national health policy in line with the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 and the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (2016–2030). Based on successful campaigns in Senegal, Cameroon, and across Africa, the campaign supports countries in building multisectoral partnerships to fight malaria. The campaign will build awareness, engage the private sector to mobilise resources, advance community led initiatives and high level political commitment.
In Niger the campaign is being championed by the First Lady, Her Excellency Hadjia Aïssata Issoufou. Through the “Guri Vie Meilleure” Foundation she has supported the government malaria elimination agenda through the mobilisation of preventive treatment. She has also been instrumental in advancing the elimination agenda at the sub-regional level as Ambassador of the initiative for the elimination of malaria in eight countries of the Sahel.
“The Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 provide clear milestones and targets to end Malaria as a public health threat. We need to increase domestic investments and strengthen weak health systems that pose a very high risk to malaria control and elimination in Africa. The Zero Malaria Starts With Me campaign will fast track the implementation of National Malaria Control Programmes and ensure that our countries remain on track,” said Dr. Marie-Goretti Harakeye who is the Head of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases at the African Union Commission.
African countries need to ensure that there is universal access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment; transform malaria surveillance into a core intervention; harness innovation and expand research and strengthen the enabling environment.
The World Malaria Report 2017 warns that initiatives to eliminate malaria are at the crossroads. Funding has stagnated and progress has stalled, putting millions of lives at risk and compromising decades of investment. Overall, the African continent accounts for over 90% of the global burden of malaria. While in some countries the number of cases of the disease and related deaths has increased by more than 20% since 2016, others show that it is possible to reach the end of it. There remains a major gap in coverage of interventions and services including suspected malaria cases that are not investigated with a diagnostic test. Annual investment per person at risk remains very low and the funding situation is currently not sustainable as countries continue to rely on external funding for much of their program financing. Domestic funding of malaria programmes in Africa remains unacceptably low.
For more information on the campaign visit the online platform www.zeromalaria.africa
New York, Sept. 25, 2018- African first ladies meeting Tuesday at the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly called a global partnership to support the Free To Shine campaign to end pediatric AIDS and keep mothers alive and healthy. The Launch in January 2017 of this joint Organisation of Africa First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS and the African Union campaign is predicated on sustained community and global level action to mobilise the resources needed to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV.
“We are committed to leveraging our unique position to advocate for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS. We know there is a window of opportunity for action to achieve the AIDS-free generation in our lifetime. While African countries gradually increase domestic health financing, forging global partnerships remains a critical pillar in supporting national efforts to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV,” said acting President of OAFLA, Her Excellency Madam Adjoavi Sika Kabore, First Lady of the Republic of Burkina Faso.
UNAIDS warns that the global AIDS response is at a precarious point and that action must be taken now to achieve global targets to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV can be up to 45%, but this can be reduced to below 5% if mothers receive effective interventions. While progress has been made to combat the AIDS epidemic in Africa, children have been left behind. Of the 1.8 million children aged 0 to 14 years old living with HIV globally, 1.7 million are in Africa. More than 90% of these infections are from mother-to-child transmission.
‘We can get quick wins if we prioritise the prevention of unintended pregnancies among women living with HIV; prevent HIV transmission from women living with HIV to their babies and provide appropriate treatment, care and support to mothers living with HIV and their children and families’ said Her Excellency Mrs Amira El Fadil, the Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission.
Currently, success in eliminating new HIV infections is hampered by inequalities in treatment access and poor adherence caused by such factors as stigma, discrimination and lack of knowledge. While intervention programmes exist, insufficient investment is constraining progress.
“Stigma, discrimination and false beliefs about treatment are some of the most common reasons that women living with HIV don’t access services nor remain on the medication that will help prevent them passing on the virus to their children. The influence of the First Ladies through the Free To Shine campaign plays a very important role in addressing these issues,” said mothers2mothers Mentor Mother Babalwa Mbono from Republic of South Africa.
The Mentor Mother model delivered by mothers2mothers involves training and employing mothers living with HIV to become healthcare workers providing essential health services to their community.
“Failure to retain women and children on HIV treatment has a ripple effect that is felt throughout families, communities and the AIDS-response. Lack of adherence and retention to treatment are among the last obstacles in ending AIDS. We have found out that the most lasting and impactful solutions reside within communities, families and women themselves, whose support is critical to eliminating HIV-related stigma and discrimination,” said Fatoumata Ndiaye, Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, speaking at the OAFLA event.
For further information, please contact:
African Media Nardos Berhanu, Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) | firstname.lastname@example.org | +251-115-508069; Tawanda Chisango, African Union | email@example.com | +251-934-167052
Global Media M&F Health | firstname.lastname@example.org | +44-207-492-1793
About the Free To Shine Campaign
The Free To Shine campaign was launched in January 2018 by the African Union and OAFLA, and is widely supported by partner organizations that are leading the work to end AIDS, including UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO, EGPAF, Abbott and Aids Accountability International.
For more information about the Free To Shine campaign, please visit www.freetoshineafrica.org or follow us on Twitter at @Free_To_Shine and Facebook at @FreeToShineAfrica.
About the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS
Established in 2002 the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) brings together African First Ladies and various partners committed to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. OAFLA provides continent wide leadership advocating for policy and social change, engaging in resource mobilisation efforts from the global, continental and national levels. Through First Ladies and other champions OAFLA drives action in the grassroots communities working with Africa’s most vulnerable including women and children infected and affected by the AIDS epidemic who also bear the brunt of poverty and social marginalisation. For more information about OAFLA visit: www.oafla.org
About the African Union
The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision: to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive Commission. For more information about the African Union visit: www.au.int
World leaders commit to greater policy coherence and multisectoral action to address the threat of non-communicable diseases
New York, 27 September 2018 -World leaders on Thursday agreed to scale up efforts to prevent and control non‑communicable diseases. Adopting a Political Declaration during a high‑level meeting on non-communicable diseases leaders committed to greater policy coherence, programmes and multisectoral partnerships for coordinated, comprehensive and integrated responses.
“The AU is committed to translate this Political Declaration into concrete action at the policy and programmatic levels for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases. This will require Member States to put in place policies with key actions on integrating a set of cost-effective, affordable and evidence based interventions for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases” said Her Excellency Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohammed, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs.
Addressing upstream determinants of non-communicable diseases such as education, pollution control, and road safety, which require action beyond the health sector can contribute to significant reduction of the new global health threat. Key actions in the Declaration include the need to reduce the impact of marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to children. The Declaration also pushes for the production and promotion of more food products consistent with a healthy diet, including by reformulating products to provide healthier options that are affordable and accessible and that follow relevant nutrition facts and labelling standards, including information on sugars, salt and fats.
“Non-communicable diseases are set to become the leading cause of death in Africa by 2030. They are a threat not only to human health and well-being, but also development and economic growth. Without targeted and sustained effective interventions, they will constitute a poverty trap, with major consequences on individuals, economies and societies” said Hon. Patrick C. Ndimubanzi, Minister of State in Charge of Public Health and Primary Health Care in Rwanda.
The Declaration advances the promotion and creation of an enabling environment for healthy behaviours among workers, including establishing tobacco-free workplaces and safe and healthy working environments through occupational safety. It further seeks to work towards reducing the use of salt in the food industry in order to lower sodium consumption. Improving access to affordable medicines and technologies in the prevention, care, treatment and control of non-communicable diseases is a key policy issue in national health frameworks.
The difficult path ahead is to work towards achieving universal health coverage through the implementation of people-centred primary health care services with an adequate and well-equipped health workforce so that preventive interventions can be provided for all. Strengthening health systems in alignment with the Africa Health Strategy (2016-2030) will see improved health outcomes and enhance greater access to affordable, safe, effective and quality assured medicines and diagnostics.
For further information contact
Mr. Tawanda Chisango I AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) Program Advocacy & Partnership Expert | Social Affairs | African Union Commission I E-mail: email@example.com | Web www.au.int I www.aidswatchafrica.net
Addis Ababa | Ethiopia
About the African Union
The African Union spearheads Africa’s development and integration in close collaboration with African Union Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and African citizens. AU Vision An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena. www.au.int