Malaria experts from over 35 African countries came together recently at Novartis’s 14th annual National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) Best Practice Sharing Workshop to discuss the need for new innovative tools and strategies to achieve malaria elimination.
‘This discussion could not have come at a better time since we in the Southern African Development Community region are already advanced in the elimination programme having earmarked eight countries in this region as pilots for the elimination campaign,’ said Hon. Dr. Nazira Abdula, Minister for Health, Mozambique.
The three-day workshop with support from international organisations including the World Health Organization (WHO), The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Malaria Consortium, focused on the new WHO ‘Global Technical Strategy and Targets for Malaria 2016 – 2030’, which aims to accelerate progress in the fight against malaria. The NMCP heads discussed the advances in technology made to date and how these tools can be implemented and improved to achieve the new WHO objective of 90% reduction in malaria cases and mortality rates by 2030.
‘Novartis is proud to provide this unique platform,’ said Dr. Linus Igwemezie, Head of the Novartis Malaria Initiative. ‘These meetings have been designed for NMCP members by NCMP members, to develop new ideas and strategies to achieve elimination of this deadly disease.’
The NMCP meeting comes as the world has reached a critical juncture in the fight against malaria. Malaria mortality rates have fallen by 47% globally since 2001 and this has helped the malaria community gain growing momentum to realise that elimination is possible. Yet, new threats such as inadequate funding, the first signs of drug resistance, and the advance of diseases such as Ebola, could derail efforts unless addressed.