Former minister of health Dr Richard Kamwi says eliminating malaria in Africa by 2030 is possible though it will require concerted efforts.
“We have an array of tools which, when used in combination, give us a very effective method of attack against the disease,” said Kamwi, who is one of the Elimination 8 (E 8) ambassadors.
E 8 is a coordinated eight-country effort intended to eliminate malaria in four southern African countries by 2020, namely, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland and subsequently pave the way for the elimination of malaria by 2030 in four more countries, namely, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Kamwi, who made the remarks in Ethiopia yesterday which was World Malaria Day, said in addition to the traditional vector control strategies “we can now add drug-based interventions such as presumptive treatment or mass drug administration to our arsenal of weapons.”
There is need to seriously consider the role of mass drug administration in elimination settings, advised Kamwi.
“I know that pilots are underway in some countries and we need to purposefully think about rapidly bringing these new tools into policy and guidance, once they have been approved,” said Kamwi at a high-level luncheon on ending malaria.
In the area of vector control there is a need to be cautious in maintaining the susceptibility to existing insecticides, while there are exciting advances in new tools that address the changing vector behavioural and transmission patterns, Kamwi said.
“Efforts are underway to strengthen the global partnership for malaria. This presents yet another unparalleled opportunity to create a mechanism that effectively harnesses the massive amount of support that exists for this goal,” further stated Kamwi.
He stressed that the potential to eliminate malaria is entirely dependent on the continued availability of resources. The history shrinking map points to one constant without which elimination cannot succeed. This, he said, is the availability of predictable and sustainable financing – a large part of it being domestic – to prevent resurgence.
“This is where we need to do much more work. We must convince our governments on the phenomenal return on investment generated by sustaining malaria programmes and the need for ownership of these malaria programmes,” stated Kamwi.
In addition, Kamwi who has been awarded the honour of serving on the new board for Elimination 8 said he looks forward to ensuring that the global malaria partnership will respond to country and regional challenges, and mobilise action and resources effectively in order to establish a new status quo that emphasises ending malaria for good.
“I am very humbled to serve on this new board which has robust experience and expertise at senior levels of decision-making, as well as representation from across the global partnership,” he said.