Is it possible to end malaria in a generation?
According to a 2015 report from the United Nations and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (From Aspiration to Action-What Will It Take to End Malaria) eradicating malaria by 2040 could be possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already set targets to reduce global malaria cases and deaths by at least 90% by 2030. Ending the disease globally would save approximately “11 million lives and unlock an estimated $2 trillion in economic benefits” (endmalaria2040.org).
We have seen what concerted action can achieve. Between 2000 and 2015 the global malaria mortality rate was reduced by 60% and an estimated 6.2 million lives were saved as a result of a scale- up of malaria intervention (rollbackmalaria.org). Additionally, 57 countries achieved reductions in new malaria cases of at least 75% (WHO).
Factors contributing to these successes were the expansion of effective tools to prevent and treat malaria, such as treated bed nets, diagnostic testing and antimalarial medicines. Continued investment in these areas as well as in monitoring structures and research in vaccines and insecticides is required to achieve the end of malaria. As the Global Fund reminds us that “gains remain fragile. If efforts are neglected, malaria could resurge within just one infectious season” (globalfund.org).
SWHAP partners working in malaria endemic areas include malaria prevention and control initiatives within their workplace HIV and wellness programmes. These programmes are run through HIV and wellness committees with representatives from both management and employees and interventions include; distribution of treated bed nets, testing opportunities and access to treatment through workplace wellness days, environmental programmes including access to safer water, clean-up campaigns and outreach to communities. Programmes raise awareness on the links between HIV and malaria (malaria increases HIV viral load) and on the gender dynamics of malaria. Gender norms that affect the division of labour and sleeping arrangements can lead to different patterns of exposure to mosquitoes for men and women. There are also gender disparities in the accessing and use of malaria interventions.
On 25 April SWHAP partners joined the global community in commemorating World Malaria Day through events to mobilise against malaria. In Zambia, Scania Hazida provided testing for employees and family members. After an awareness session on malaria the company distributed malaria prevention kits. In Kenya, employees at Shreeji Chemicals did their bit to keep malaria in the conversation. Peer Educators organised a malaria awareness raising session for employees during their lunch break. Information was shared on the prevention strategies for malaria and how to recognise the signs and symptoms of the disease. Peer Educators at Raffia Bags in Kenya sprayed the environment around their offices to protect against malaria.
Malaria Key Facts
- In 2015, there were 214 million cases, and 438 000 deaths from Malaria
- 2 billion(almost half of the world population) are at risk
- In 2015, 97 countrieshad on-going malaria transmission
- US$ 5.1 billion is needed every year, double the funding available
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