Angola is highly vulnerable to malaria, which is estimated to be responsible for 40% of illnesses and 42% of deaths in the country. In addition, like other Member States of the WHO African Region, the country faces the challenge of high transmission, limited access, and availability of health services within the reach of communities, inadequate resources, resistance to insecticides, and the threat of climate change, which significantly disrupts efforts to eliminate this disease.
To boost the fight against malaria, the Angolan government launched the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign on 30 November in Luanda, on the sidelines of SADC Malaria Day. The initiative was witnessed by SADC Health Ministers, members of the government and local communities, partners from cooperation and bilateral organizations, as well as the main funding agencies for the fight against malaria in the region.
“On behalf of the People and Government of the Republic of Angola, I proudly launch the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, a bold and catalytic initiative for a future in which malaria is no longer a persistent threat to health,” said Angola’s Minister of Health, Dr Silvia Lutucuta. “This campaign is not just a slogan; it is a clear call to collective action, urging each of us to take individual responsibility for eliminating this disease. I urge SADC Member States, partners, and stakeholders to join Angola and embrace the vision of ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ wholeheartedly,” stressed Dr Lutucuta.
The “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign is a continent-wide initiative in favor of a malaria-free Africa, based on the involvement of political leaders and influential personalities from civil society, to establish exchanges with the private sector; fostering awareness and responsibility around malaria prevention; detection and treatment within communities; increasing the visibility of malaria programs; and improving the availability of national resources to combat malaria.
With the launch of the campaign, the Angolan authorities expect to leverage community action for malaria elimination through the multisectoral work and participation of various layers of society, as well to integrate approaches that contribute to the sharing of resources across a spectrum of various entities, including the private sector, to drive awareness, action, resource mobilization, promote accountability for ending malaria and, as an end, to promote a resilient health system and communities, ensuring that malaria becomes a vestige of the past.
According to the WHO Representative in Angola, Dr Humphrey Karamagi, Africa is still not on track to achieve the goals related to malaria, which envisages a 75 % reduction in the incidence and mortality rate of malaria compared to the 2015 reference values. As such, “we need to work differently and act urgently to contain the malaria threat and move towards achieving the 2030 malaria targets”, emphasized Dr. Karamagi.
“The Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign, which involves everyone, with everyone playing their part as well as with the active support of partners and the participation of communities, is a crucial initiative that, if developed with rigor, will enable the country to accelerate the reduction in the incidence of malaria and put an end to this scourge in Angola in the future.”
In addition to representing a health problem, malaria is a socio-economic challenge that disproportionately stifles the development of the Member States of the WHO African Region, with annual costs of around 2% of their GDP. Investing adequately in malaria prevention and control is a crucial measure to prevent malaria from stifling the development of the African continent.
Hence, the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign is a unique opportunity to establish solid internal mechanisms that can support resource mobilization and build strong local partnerships in the fight against malaria. With its implementation, malaria efforts in the SADC region have seen a significant boost to malaria control and elimination, and therefore the protection of populations.
Source : WHO