Browsing articles in "Malaria"
15 October 2013
Shawn Clackett

Time to eliminate malaria in southern Africa

As published in the Business Day Wednesday, 9 October 2013.

Malaria continues to be a drain on our people and our economies but, with adequate resources and commitment, we can imagine a malaria-free southern Africa, write Richard Feachem and Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Richard Feachem

Richard G A Feachem is Director of the Global Health Group at UCSF Global Health Sciences

Yvonne-Chaka-Chaka

Yvonne Chaka Chaka is a South African singer and Roll Back Malaria Partnership Goodwill Ambassador

One of the largest gatherings of the malaria community, the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria, takes place in Durban this week. This year’s theme, Moving towards malaria elimination: Investing in research and control, calls for stakeholders to take stock of the gains made in the global fight against malaria and to commit to a goal that many believed unreachable a decade ago: a malaria-free southern Africa.

Success in the fight against malaria has been remarkable over the past decade: malaria deaths fell 33% in Africa and 21% worldwide between 2000 and 2011. Southern Africa, in particular, has seen dramatic progress. South Africa, for instance, has cut malaria cases 85% between 2000 and 2011, thanks to steady malaria control in the three malarious regions of Limpopo, Lubombo and Mpumalanga. Today, much of South Africa is malaria-free and the country aims to eliminate it by 2018. Similarly, Swaziland has achieved a 98% decrease in reported cases from 2000-2011 and is on track to eliminate malaria by 2015, which would make it the first country to eliminate malaria in mainland sub-Saharan Africa — a historic achievement.

But maintaining momentum depends on overcoming a number of important challenges, including insufficient funding to finish the job. With the major external source of funding for malaria, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, changing its funding model to prioritise applications from low-income and high-burden countries, countries in southern Africa are vulnerable to a decrease in support for their activities. This could undo years of work and millions of dollars of investment and, worse, it could allow a resurgence of malaria. Given this risk, governments must step up and commit resources to get the job done.

One opportunity for additional support lies with South Africa. As the leading economy in the region, South Africa can make an important contribution by supporting malaria control efforts in neighbouring countries where the malaria burden is higher, as a way of protecting itself from imported cases. In 2010, at least 70% of the malaria cases in Mpumalanga were imported from other countries. Preventing malaria at home will also reduce the number of South Africans exporting malaria.

As malaria knows no borders, regional initiatives that encourage collaboration between countries can help address the challenge of malaria importation. For example, the Elimination 8 is a regional initiative that supports the goal of malaria elimination in the eight southernmost African countries. Chaired by Namibian Health Minister Richard Kamwi, it encourages cross-border initiatives between countries, such as the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, and the Trans-Kunene Malaria Initiative between Angola and Namibia. The malaria control programmes of these countries support each other’s malaria efforts by harmonising interventions, such as use of insecticides or malaria testing in border regions. But these partnerships are challenging to implement. Lack of funding to support cross-border projects, as well as political and administrative hurdles, can hamper success. Additional support from governments across southern Africa is needed to facilitate these partnerships.

While governments are strengthening national and regional efforts to eliminate malaria, researchers and implementers are rising to other challenges, developing innovative solutions, tools and technologies to eliminate malaria.

The progress of the past decade is impressive but fragile. We know from experience that once malaria is eliminated or driven to low levels, if efforts wane, it can be easily reintroduced. With the unstable economic situation of many donors, external support is at risk. The governments of southern Africa must renew their political and financial commitment to malaria elimination, and to essential regional collaborations.

Southern African leaders and governments need to act now and commit to malaria elimination — and to dedicate national resources to the goal. Malaria continues to be a drain on our people and our economies. But with adequate resources and commitment, we can imagine a day when we will be able to drive from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam through a completely malaria-free southern Africa.

23 August 2013
Guest Contributor

Niger and Global Fund Sign €13.5 Million Malaria Grant

20 August 2013 Global Fund News Release

Wells and pumps in Niger | Global Education

GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has signed a 13.5 million euro grant agreement that will intensify efforts to provide families with mosquito nets and improve the diagnosis and treatment of malaria in Niger.

Map of NigerMalaria is a major cause of high child mortality in Niger. One in every eight children that are born dies before reaching five years of age; there are also 650 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births.

This new and additional funding, the first to be signed since early 2011, will finance the procurement of: 1.65 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets; 4.69 million rapid diagnostic kits for malaria; and 1.49 million doses of artemisinin-based combination therapies. This grant will be implemented by Catholic Relief Services as Principal Recipient, in close collaboration with the National Malaria Control Program.

The signing of this funding follows the restructuring of the grant portfolio after financial irregularities were discovered, leading to an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General. Risk mitigation measures put in place include use of pooled procurement for all core health products, appointment of an international fiscal agent and a widening of the scope of the Local Fund Agent’s role.

“We are very happy that with the risk mitigation measures that we have in place we are now able to bring new funding to Niger,” said Lelio Marmora, the Global Fund’s Department Head for Africa and the Middle East.

The mosquito nets will be handed out to the population in 2 of the country’s 8 geographical regions in a mass distribution campaign.

12 August 2013
Guest Contributor

Early promise for malaria vaccine

A NEW malaria vaccine that mimics the effects of mosquito bites has shown early promise by offering 100 per cent protection to a dozen human volunteers, researchers say.

Article from The Australian – August 12, 2013

Malaria Vaccine

Maryland-based Sanaria’s PfSPZ vaccine contains live parasites and is complicated to make because it requires scientists to dissect the salivary glands of mosquitoes to get at the parasites that cause malaria.

These sporozoites are then weakened so they cannot cause illness and incorporated into a vaccine, which must be injected into a person’s veins several times, with each shot about a month apart.

A test of the same vaccine two years ago that administered it into the skin of patients, the way most vaccines are given, showed protection in only two of 44 volunteers.

But the latest trial showed that injecting the vaccine into the bloodstream protected against malaria in all six volunteers who received a five-shot regimen at the highest dosage, according to the results published in the US journal Science.

The study included 57 people, including 40 who received the vaccine in varying doses, and 17 controls.

Co-author Robert Seder at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Science the findings were “very promising” but that the vaccine needed more study.

“We need to repeat it in a larger number of people.”

Lead researcher Stephen Hoffman, the chief executive of Sanaria, said he believed the vaccine would eventually be used to eliminate malaria.

“It’s reasonable to suggest that within three-to-five years, a safe, reliable vaccine could be a commercial reality and provide medical benefit to a huge population,” he said.

7 August 2013
Shawn Clackett

New Global Fund Video: Defeating AIDS, TB and Malaria

As the Global Fund seeks new funding for the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, Charlize Theron, Bono, Bill Gates, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and others call on world leaders to be the generation to defeat the three pandemics. “The moment is right now,” says Charlize Theron, speaking of the critical turning point of progress through science, dropping infection rates and expanded efforts to prevent and treat the three pandemics.

What do you want our generations to be remembered for?

29 July 2013
Guest Contributor

Chad Targets Universal Mosquito Net Coverage with Global Fund Grant

A mother and child sleeping under mosquito net

GENEVA – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has signed a € 25.17 million euro grant that will help provide nearly every family in Chad with a mosquito net by July 2014 and make a transformative difference against malaria in that nation.

Malaria has been the main cause of child mortality in Chad, where 169 children out of every 1,000 that are born die before reaching their fifth birthday.

“Chad stands on the threshold of a major breakthrough in its fight against a disease which has taken a disproportionate toll on children,” said Lelio Marmora, the Global Fund’s Department Head for Africa and the Middle East.

The aim is to achieve a 75 percent fall in malaria deaths among children under five by 2015.

The new grant, made available under the Global Fund’s new approach to funding, will finance the procurement and distribution of more than 5 million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets in the country’s 13 most populous regions.

These will replace nets that were distributed in 9 regions in April 2011 under a previous grant and which are now reaching the end of their useful life. The net distribution campaign will also target 4 additional regions that have not been supplied with nets before.

An additional 2 million nets are also being provided for distribution with funding from the Government of Chad and other donors.

Chad is expected to achieve universal coverage, defined as 80 percent of the population living in households with nets, by July 2014. By the end of 2014, at least 95 percent of the general population in the 13 regions targeted by the grant are projected to be protected by nets.

The grant’s Principal Recipient is the Fonds de Soutien aux Activités en matière de Population (FOSAP). UNICEF and the National Malaria Control Program are sub-recipients, with responsibility for procuring and handing out the mosquito nets.

An existing malaria grant, active since July 2011, covers malaria testing through rapid diagnostic tests, anti-malaria treatment and intermittent preventive therapy in pregnancy, as well as routine distribution of nets.

Pacific Friends operates as a program within the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales.

Pacific Friends

Professor Janice Reid AC
Chair
Bill Bowtell AO
Executive Director

Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.

Funders

Partners

Social Media