African Union Commission Calls for Stronger Youth Leadership and Engagement in the Fight Against Malaria in Africa On International Youth Day 2020 (12 August 2020 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia): The African Union Commission joins the world to commemorate International Youth Day. In support of this year’s theme of the day: Youth Engagement for Global Action – we are calling on more youth in Africa to take on the mantle of champions against malaria on the continent. In addition, we encourage Member States to open more doors for the youth to have a seat at the table during planning and implementation of malaria interventions.

To this end, the Commission will be holding a virtual roundtable discussion to highlight political instruments, innovations and resources available to enable youth involvement in maintaining strong fight against malaria on the continent. The guest speakers will be Her Excellency Amira Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission and Her Excellency Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology (HRST), African Union Commission. They will speak on African Union’s position on youth empowerment for good health and economic prosperity.

The panelists will be: Ms. Aya Chebii, African Union Youth Envoy; Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary, African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA); and Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria. The webinar will also feature: Mr. Elvis Eze from Nigeria; Dr. Ndifanji Namacha from Malawi; and Ms. Kadiatou Sanogo from Mali will elaborate on their impact as continental youth malaria champions and how governments and partners can support their efforts. The session will take place from 15.00 to 17.00 (East African Time).

“Building up the capacity of youth in Africa to be able to make their own decisions on health and to take responsibility for health is a smart pragmatic economic intervention for the continent. The African Union Commission upholds the centrality of youth empowerment for health as attested in the Africa Health Strategy and the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030 Specifically, these policy frameworks identify the need to empower youth with skills and knowledge to attain good health and prosperity, in the context of African Union’s (AU) Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030. I encourage African Union Member States to strengthen implementation of these policies and continue to implement youth-friendly services and disease control programs for malaria,” Her Excellency Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Social Affairs, African Union Commission.

“As actors for a positive health outcome, young people can effectively contribute to addressing malaria and other diseases such as COVID 19 when a holistic approach to health promotion is adopted. This approach will empower young people to take action for their health and that of their community. They will apply their leadership in public health by promoting intersectoral action and by participating in healthy public policies and accountability. Public institutions should therefore leverage on the potentials of young people to eliminate malaria by 2030 and work with them for faster and more effective delivery of health services especially to people in rural areas. Young people could be effectively used in task shifting programs, as community health agents who serve as a relay of health professionals in hard to reach geographical locations,” Her Excellency Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources Science and Technology (HRST), African Union Commission

“As the AU Special Envoy on Youth, my call to action for Member States and African leaders is to effectively implement the African Youth Charter which guarantees youth rights and contributions to be the custodians of their well-being and Africa’s development. That is why the African Union established the flagship initiative of the African Youth Charter Hustlers to invest in youth to drive advocacy, accountability and innovation in order to overcome diseases such as Malaria,” Ms. Aya Chebii, African Union Youth Envoy.

“Africa’s renaissance is predicated on harnessing the demographic dividend from the youth that constitute more than 60 per cent of the population.  Achieving Africa’s transformational agenda will depend much more on ensuring that Africa’s youth become active players in defining the broader health and development agenda, laying a strong foundation for Africa’s inclusive economic growth, poverty reduction and shared prosperity. ALMA join hands with the international community to underscore the need to enable the engagement of youth by making local, national and global institutions more inclusive for the purpose of strengthening their capacity and relevance to achieve national, regional, continental and global action,” Joy Phumaphi, Executive Secretary, African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA).

“This International Youth Day, we call on African youth to amplify their voices for the fight against malaria. Under 35s not only represent a large proportion of African citizens but are also passionate about driving social change. To become the generation to end malaria for good, it’s essential that they are at the heart of decision-making through initiatives such as the Digital Youth Workstream and the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign,” Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria.

Africa has the youngest population in the world: over 75% of its 1.2 billion inhabitants are under the age of 35 and 453 million Africans are aged 15-35. On this International Youth Day, the Commission urges Member States to leverage on the strength of these youthful numbers to build a better level of knowledge about malaria and nurture youth leadership and engagement in the fight against malaria in Africa.

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For media and interview inquiry contact:

Ms. Whitney Mwangi

AIDS Watch Africa – African Union Commission

E-mail: WhitneyM@africa-union.org

About AIDS Watch Africa

Website: https://au.int/en/sa/awa and www.aidswatchafrica.net

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AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) is a statutory entity of the AU with the specific mandate to lead advocacy, resource mobilization and accountability efforts to advance a robust African response to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030.  AWA was created following a special summit of African Heads of State and Government in April 2001 in Abuja, Nigeria, to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other related infectious diseases.

The AWA Heads of State and Government Action Committee (AWA Action Committee) serves as the primary structure of AWA. The AU Chairperson serves as the AWA Chairperson. The Secretariat is located within the AUC Department of Social Affairs, Division of AIDS, TB, Malaria and Other Infectious Diseases.

The overall objective of the AWA Experts Consultative Meeting is to undertake in-depth discussion around issues impeding the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as public health threats in Africa. The meeting is annual and provides a platform to highlight issues that should be tabled to Heads of States and Government in AU Member States during the successive AU Summit.

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