In partnership with The Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco
The world has made great strides in the control and elimination of malaria. Roughly half the countries in the world have eliminated the disease. Of the remaining 100 countries that still have endemic malaria, 35 are eliminating and the others are making rapid progress in control. Since 2000, malaria mortality rates have been cut in half. Encouraged by this progress, leaders have set ambitious new regional and global goals. Most countries in Southern Africa have committed to eliminate malaria by 2020 or soon thereafter. The East Asia Summit has declared a goal of a Malaria-free Asia Pacific by 2030, and there is increasing consensus that human malaria can be eradicated within a generation.
In this context of high ambition and rapid progress, some countries are leading the way, especially countries in the Asia Pacific and Southern Africa. In both cases, powerful regional bodies have been established. In Asia Pacific, the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN) with 17 members and the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance (APLMA) with 22 members, have brought together technical expertise and high-level leadership. In Southern Africa, the Elimination Eight (E8) is facilitating collaboration among the four countries that are near elimination (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland) and their four northerly neighbours who are next in line to eliminate (Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe). These Asian and African countries have demonstrated political leadership, have committed substantial financial and human resources, and have pioneered new and innovative methods for eliminating malaria and preventing malaria re-introduction. Sri Lanka, an exceptional example of rapid progress, has reported no locally transmitted malaria cases for over 2 years and is well on the way to being declared a malaria-free country.
The conference unleashed new ideas to accelerate malaria elimination, including a commitment to regional elimination for global eradication. Reaching ambitious targets, including global eradication, depend on active political commitment and sustainable financing, including increased domestic financing.
Further interaction between Ministries of Health and Finance, focused on malaria elimination, will strengthen the multi-sectoral partnership required to accelerate and sustain gains.
Regional elimination will drive global eradication especially if innovative financing mechanisms are established, technical collaborations are facilitated and high-level political commitment is secured.