African campaigner calls for targeted interventions to eliminate malaria

by Amref Health Africa

NAIROBI, April 25 (Xinhua) — The goal of eliminating malaria in Africa by 2030 can be achieved with sustained funding for high-impact interventions, including improved surveillance, diagnosis, and treatment, a campaigner said on Thursday to mark World Malaria Day.

Francis Onditi, the Global Fund Malaria project officer at Amref Health Africa, a Nairobi-based health charity, said the continent is in a vantage position to be declared malaria-free through new prevention and treatment tools.

“The drive to eliminate malaria is on track. Governments’ and development partners’ commitment is bearing fruit, as malaria prevalence is declining significantly,” Onditi told Xinhua in a virtual interview.

World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that in 2022, the African region was home to 94 percent of the world’s malaria cases, or 233 million cases, and 95 percent, or 580,000 malaria deaths.

In addition, children under the age of five accounted for about 80 percent of all malaria deaths on the continent, according to the WHO. At the same time, the tropical disease continued to pose a significant threat to the lives of pregnant women.

Onditi noted that while much progress has been made in reducing the prevalence of malaria in Africa, the disease — which is brought on by a plasmodium that mosquitoes carry — remains a threat to the well-being and livelihoods of rural communities across the continent.

According to Onditi, the climate crisis is fueling malaria infections in non-endemic parts of the continent. At the same time, mosquito resistance to treated nets and the emergence of new strains could slow efforts to eliminate the disease in Africa.

This year’s World Malaria Day theme, “Accelerating the fight against malaria for a more equitable world,” underscores the need for Africa to put equity at the centre of the fight against the disease, Onditi said.

Onditi emphasized that the continent’s goal of malaria elimination can be achieved through increased inter-agency collaboration and the involvement of community health promoters in the deployment of novel prevention and treatment tools.

He added that expanding indoor residual spraying in high-endemic zones, coupled with accelerating vaccination for children and robust case management, will be key to taming the malaria burden in Africa.

Article first published on

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