April 26, 2021by ammren_admin

Sunday, April 25, 2021: The commemoration of the 2021World Malaria Day provides another
opportunity for countries to focus on malaria and step up the fight against the disease, that is
preventable and treatable disease, yet continues to claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year.
The theme for the Day is ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me/ Draw the Line Against Malaria’, a theme
which builds on the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign movement started nearly three years
ago. The idea for choosing a theme similar to the one used in previous years is to highlight the
successes of countries around the world and to inspire a new group of countries that have the
potential to eliminate the disease by 2025.
Over the past two decades, great progress has been made in the malaria fight, saving more than
seven (7) million lives and preventing over 1 billion new malaria cases. In 2019, the global tally
of malaria cases was 229 million and the disease claimed some 409 000 lives in 2019 compared to
411 000 in 2018. The African Region for its part continues to shoulder more than 90% of the
overall disease burden. Since 2000, the region has reduced its malaria death toll by 44%, from an
estimated 680 000 to 384 000 annually. However, progress has slowed in recent years, particularly
in countries with a high burden of the disease.
The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), a Pan-African media advocacy
group of journalists and scientists working together to rid the world of malaria, thinks that it is not
acceptable that thousands of people, mainly children and pregnant women continue to die
needlessly of a disease that could be prevented and treated. AMMREN is therefore urging all
stakeholders to step up the fight against malaria.
The emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, posed an additional challenge to the provision of essential
health services worldwide and threatened to disrupt malaria prevention efforts. At the start of the
pandemic, the WHO had estimated that malaria deaths could double in the worst-case scenario.
However, many countries and partners responded quickly and effectively to protect decades of
progress made against malaria, ensuring campaigns were delivered on time. As we celebrate the
Taking the Lead in Malaria Communication in Africa
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Accra Ghana2021 World Malaria Day AMMREN applauds these countries and partners for their resilience in
the face of adversity.
In spite of this achievement, there is no room for complacency. According to WHO’s latest World
Malaria Report, progress against malaria continues to plateau, particularly in high burden countries
in Africa. The WHO report indicates that a funding shortfall at both the international and domestic
levels, poses a significant threat to future gains. In 2019, total funding reached US $3 billion
against a global target of $5.6 billion, leading to critical gaps in access to proven malaria control
tools. As a result of COVID-19, there is an increase in the number of people reluctant to seek
medical care when experiencing a fever, thus threatening efforts to control malaria across the
The WHO also warns that even moderate disruptions in access to treatment could lead to a
considerable loss of life. The 2020 World Malaria Report, for example, notes that a 10% disruption
in access to effective antimalarial treatment in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to 19 000 additional
deaths in the region. Disruptions of 25% and 50% in the region could result in an additional 46
000 and 100 000 deaths, respectively. According to WHO global projections, the 2020 target for
reductions in malaria case incidence will be missed by 37% and the mortality reduction target will
be missed by 22%. This, indeed is a worrying projection that must be taken seriously.
AMMREN believes that malaria can be defeated with concerted efforts by individuals and
governments of countries where the disease is endemic. The Network is also of the opinion that
the disease can be subdued with the current available tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
AMMREN supports the statement of the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom
Ghebreyesus that “It is time for leaders across Africa – and the world – to rise once again to the
challenge of malaria, just as they did when they laid the foundation for the progress made since
the beginning of this century,”. The WHO Director notes that “Through joint action, and a
commitment to leaving no one behind, we can achieve our shared vision of a world free of
AMMREN adds its voice to the call of the WHO to all people living in malaria affected countries
to “beat the fear”. People with a fever should go to the nearest health facility to be tested for malaria
and receive the care they need, within the context of national COVID-19 protocols. In addition,
individuals have a responsibility to use the treated mosquito nets and other available tools.
Unless countries find innovative ways to mobilize adequate resources to bridge the funding gap,
malaria resurgence will likely take many more lives on the Continent. Certainly, this is not the
time for countries with a high burden of malaria to lose ground. It is important to note that malaria
elimination is possible and critical to fighting other current and future diseases that may emerge.
AMMREN is therefore calling on governments of malaria endemic countries to invest in the fight
against malaria to fill the funding gap. “Zero Malaria Must Start with the Presidents”. Together
we can “Draw the Line Against Malaria” and the time is now!!!!!About AMMREN
The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN) is a registered non-governmental
organization made up of a network of African journalists and scientists working together towards
the control and elimination of malaria. Established in 2006. AMMREN is present in 10 African
countries, namely, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal,
Tanzania and The Gambia. AMMREN is based in Accra, Ghana. AMMREN has over the past 14
years been actively involved in media advocacy for the elimination of malaria and other diseases
on the African continent. The Network worked closely with scientists and researchers who carried
out the RTS.S malaria vaccine in 11 sites in seven (7) African countries. AMMREN members
produced articles to disseminate timely information on the vaccine to communities. It has since
2012, expanded its activities to cover other infectious, emerging and non-communicable diseases
such as Ebola and diabetes. The vision of AMMREN is to see a society of well-informed people
working together to end malaria and other diseases.
Dr. Charity Binka
Executive Secretary
African Media and Malaria Research Network