African Union Statement on the Occasion of the World Malaria Day
Eighteen years after the historic Abuja Declaration on Roll Back Malaria was signed by Heads of State and Government on 25 April 2000, African countries continue to bear the heaviest brunt of the Malaria epidemic with 90% of the disease burden on the continent. Recognising that Malaria is a huge public health threat African leaders declared 25 April as Malaria Day to ensure that the disease remains high at the policy and political agenda of the continent. Today as we join the community of nations to commemorate the World Malaria Day under the theme Ready to Beat Malaria we are cognizant of the fact that ending Malaria is a collective responsibility that requires every individual in our communities to take concerted action and more broadly we need sustained partnerships.
Without renewed and urgent action, the major gains in the fight against malaria are under threat of being reversed. The African Union calls for greater investment and expanded coverage of proven tools that prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.
While there has been remarkable progress in responding to Malaria over the years the 2017 World malaria report highlights that progress has stalled globally. The current pace is insufficient to achieve the bold and ambitious target to reduce malaria mortality rates to zero in all countries to at least 40% by 2020 as laid out in the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030. African Union Member States should thus accelerate efforts towards universal access to malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment, transform malaria surveillance into a core intervention, harness innovation and expand research, strengthen the enabling environment and accelerate efforts towards elimination and malaria free status.
We cannot achieve the ambitious aspirations for socio-economic development, inclusive economic growth and Africa’s structural transformation Agenda by 2063 if we do not address the health agenda boldly. While we have many competing development priorities on the continent, African countries’ huge economic boom provides an opportunity for improved service delivery in the areas of health as well as education, power, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion.
African nations must renew their commitment and strengthen instruments to attain a malaria-free Africa by 2030 in line with the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 adopted by Heads of State and Government in at the July 2016 Summit.
Malaria alone is estimated to rob the continent of US$12 billion per year in lost productivity, investment and associated health care costs. It is therefore critical that we sustain the political commitment, as articulated in our continental Agenda 2063, to eliminate malaria in Africa by 2030 through increased domestic financing, increased access to life-saving malaria interventions, as well as more robust health systems. Malaria, a treatable and preventable disease, already costs the African continent’s economy US$ 12 billion per year in direct losses, and 1.3% of lost annual GDP growth.,
This July the African Union Heads of State and Government and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership will jointly launch the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” a continent-wide public-facing campaign for a malaria-free Africa. The campaign will provide high-level engagement with government, private sector and civil society leaders: as part of the pan-African “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign, leaders will be invited to publicly pledge their support to and make concrete commitments towards malaria elimination. It will advocate for an increase in external and domestic funding for malaria elimination, increase awareness and ownership at the community level and provide mission-critical support to malaria endemic countries.
The Africa CDC established in 2017 has seen increased support to all African countries to improve surveillance, emergency response, and prevention of infectious diseases. This includes addressing outbreaks, man-made and natural disasters, and public health events of regional and international concern. This new public health order in Africa will improve our response to malaria.
Her Excellency Mrs. Amira El Fadil
Commissioner for Social Affairs
African Union Commission
African Union Media Statement on World TB Day 2018
The African Union joins the world in commemorating the World TB Day. Africa’s Heads of State and Government have committed to concrete steps to end the TB epidemic. Africa’s TB treatment success rate was in 2015 at 83% among new and relapse TB patients on treatment. Africa outpaced other regions in determining the HIV status of people infected with TB. Furthermore essential TB services such as testing and treatment are available free of charge in most countries in Africa.
In 2016 African leaders endorsed the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030. This reinforced the 2012 African Union Roadmap on Shared Responsibility and Global Solidarity for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response and the Common Africa Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda that among other developmental and health agendas directed African Union Member States to take concerted action to end the epidemic of TB.
While significant progress has been made in advancing TB surveillance, diagnostics, testing and treatment, the disease remains the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause from a single infectious agent. In 2015 TB surpassed HIV as the number one infectious killer globally. TB and HIV are concurrent epidemics in Africa interacting synergistically, and contributing to excess burden of disease on the continent. This year’s global theme Wanted, Leaders for a TB-free world. You can make history. End TB, resonates with the need to accelerate our leadership efforts, create a social movement to address TB across the continent with global support to end TB as a public health threat in alignment with continental commitments. Africa accounts for more than half (53%) of the 30 high TB burden countries; over 76% of the countries with high TB/HIV burden and 30% of countries with a high burden of multi drug resistant TB. While significant progress has been made due to community action, shared responsibility and global solidarity the 2017 WHO Global TB report shows that new cases and death are increasing in Africa sending clear signals that more resources need to be allocated to respond to TB most effectively.
Furthermore it is worrying that case notification is stagnating. Research shows that drug resistance, including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR TB), has reached alarming levels with the emergence of strains that are virtually untreatable with existing drugs. Africa’s health systems remain weak by international standards and inadequate coverage and weak performance of health services limit access to high-quality Tuberculosis care. Many private health providers are delinked from TB services provided by the public sector. There is an increase in TB associated with non-communicable diseases and risk-factors such as diabetes, tobacco-smoking, silicosis, alcohol and drug misuse, and malnutrition.
African Ministers of Health are seized with these immense challenges in addressing TB in Africa. Meeting during the Global Ministerial Conference on Tuberculosis (TB) in the context of Global Health and the Sustainable Development Goals in November 2017 in Moscow, Russian Federation, they discussed the Common Africa Position to UN High Level Meeting on TB. The Common Position had previously been discussed by Ministries of Health National TB Programme Managers and the Africa Partnership and Coordination Forum on AIDS, TB and Malaria. Further consultations on the Common Position will take place to ensure that Africa speaks with one voice on concrete actions to be taken to end TB as a public health threat by 2030. The recommendations in Common Africa Position are grouped around five strategic pillars: leadership, country ownership, governance and accountability; universal and equitable access to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support; research and development to improve access to affordable and quality assured diagnostics, medicines, commodities and technology; health financing and strategic information.
Despite many competing development priorities the Africa Union will continue to soldier on through its newly established Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), WHO and partners to ensure that we move towards strengthened health systems, a new continental and regional public health order to address Africa's health security agenda and move towards adequate capacity to deal with the threat of infectious diseases. Achieving Africa’s Agenda 2063 for inclusive growth and structural transformation is predicated on addressing the health of our citizens.
H.E. Ms. Amira El Fadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs
African leaders join forces to help end AIDS in children by 2030
OAFLA and the African Union launch the ‘Free To Shine’ campaign that aims to help prevent new HIV infections and childhood deaths
Addis Ababa, 29th January 2018. The Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) and the African Union have today launched ‘Free To Shine’, a new campaign that aims to help end childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers healthy. The campaign, launched during the OAFLA General Assembly, will unite people and organisations at local and global levels to advance healthcare delivery that will contribute to ending childhood AIDS. To achieve its goal, the campaign will first focus on 2020 global targets for the elimination of mother to child transmission as outlined in the African Union’s Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030. These targets are aligned to global targets and commitments.
“While Africa has made unprecedented progress in responding to the AIDS epidemic, the response to childhood AIDS is lagging behind. To end the AIDS epidemic in Africa, we must act now to prioritise the use of knowledge and the implementation of tools that exist, to keep children AIDS-free and their mothers healthy. Preventing new HIV infections will transform Africa’s broader health and development agenda and provide our children with a healthy and hopeful future,” said Her Excellency Mrs Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and President of OAFLA.
There are up to 1.4 million children living with HIV in Africa south of the Sahara – this is over half of all children living with HIV globally.1,2 Children are at greater risk of the potentially fatal consequences of HIV than any other age group.1 Despite this, detection and treatment levels remain low.1,3 Of the total number of children living with HIV, around 50% are not receiving treatment,1,4 and of these untreated children 50% die before they are 2 years old.5
“We cannot end AIDS by 2030 if we do not focus on women and children. The Free To Shine campaign will drive for increased investments to strengthen health systems and achieve maximum impact where the burden is highest. The African Union is committed to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, which will lay a strong foundation for Africa’s Agenda 2063 for socio-economic development and structural transformation,” said Dr. Marie-Goretti Harakeye, the Head of Division for AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases at the African Union Commission
The campaign aims to unite people and organisations from local to global levels, and support personal and collective understanding of the actions that can be taken to end childhood AIDS. The campaign will work to drive the effective delivery and use of healthcare services to keep mothers healthy, prevent mother to child transmission and ensure fast and effective identification and treatment of children infected by HIV.
The leading partners in the Free To Shine campaign have set out their campaign objectives as:
• To improve maternal and childhood AIDS programmes across Africa by building networks and partnerships of key organisations and advocate for domestic and global resource mobilisation
• To raise awareness of the childhood AIDS cycle of risk in Africa through mass media, publications, websites, meetings and other means
• To mobilise support for childhood AIDS programmes in Africa by working with high-level international forums such as UN General Assembly and its special sessions, G7 and G20 Summits and advocacy missions
• To inform AU governance structures such as the Permanent Representatives Council, the Executive Council and the Assembly, AU Organs (Pan-African Parliament, NEPAD and APRM) and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) & Regional Health Organisations (RHOs) on key issues related to childhood AIDS
For more information about the campaign, please visit www.freetoshineafrica.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @FreeToShineAfrica.
For further information, please contact:
African Media: Nardos Berhanu at firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel:+251-115-508069 or Tawanda Chisango at email@example.com; Tel: +251-934-167052.
Global Media: Bianca.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Tel: +44 (0) 207 492 1973
Notes to Editors
About the ‘Free To Shine’ Campaign
‘Free To Shine’ is a campaign to help end childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keep mothers healthy. Launched in January 2018 the campaign is led by OAFLA and the AU, with support from partners WHO, UNAIDS, Abbott, EGPAF, UNICEF, UNDP and AIDS Accountability International.
For more information about the ‘Free To Shine’ Campaign visit www.freetoshineafrica.org.
About Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS
Established in 2002 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, engage 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 the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (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
Details of the African Union’s Catalytic Framework available here.
Details of UNAIDS ‘Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free’ available here.
1. UNAIDS. On the fast-track to an AIDS-free generation. 2016. Available: http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/GlobalPlan2016_en.pdf
2. UNAIDS. Global HIV Statistics. Fact Sheet. 2017. Available: http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/UNAIDS_FactSheet_en.pdf
3. UNAIDS. Ending AIDS. Progress towards the 90-90-90 targets. Global AIDS Update 2017. 2017 Available: http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/Global_AIDS_update_2017_en.pdf
4. UNICEF. Executive Summary. For every child end AIDS. Seventh Stocktaking Report, 2016. Available: https://data.unicef.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/For-Every-Child-End-AIDS-ST7-2016-Executive-Summary.pdf
5. Newell, ML et al. Mortality of Infected and Uninfected Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers in Africa: A pooled analysis. The Lancet. 2004,364:1236–1243. Available: http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(04)17140-7.pdf
“All countries should eliminate Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis and ensure that every child has an HIV-free start to his or her life.”
Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS
“As a global leader in diagnostics, Abbott strongly supports the important work of the First Ladies of Africa, African Union and partners, to mobilize resources and accelerate the fight to end AIDS in children by 2030. Early infant diagnosis that can be provided quickly and at the point of care – often in remote, resource-limited locations – is a critical intervention to prevent HIV infected infants from developing AIDS and allowing them to live long, healthy and productive lives.”
Zeina Henaine, Social Responsibility Ambassador, Africa and Senior Regional Director for North and French Africa
“The ‘Free to Shine’ campaign is an important step in catalyzing action among government and community leaders towards ending AIDS among an underserved and often forgotten population – children. EGPAF shares the campaign’s mission to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, so infants can be born and stay free of the virus. It is critical to ensure both mothers and children with HIV have access to the lifesaving medicines they need to live healthy productive lives and achieve their dreams. This campaign will be a game changer on the African continent by prioritizing and accelerating the pace towards achieving an AIDS-free generation.”
Chip Lyons, President and CEO of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
“We have seen tremendous progress in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, but the ultimate success requires continued and scaled up investment, political will and sustained service delivery. Collective effort to achieve an HIV-free generation is required now, more than ever before.”
Leila Pakkala, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa