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This article is part of the supplement: Perceptions and views on public health proceedings at the occasion of the Fifteenth Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union

Open Access Proceedings

Malaria control in the African Region: perceptions and viewspoints on proceedings of the Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA)

Luis Gomes Sambo, Georges Ki-Zerbo and Joses Muthuri Kirigia*

Author affiliations

World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa, B.P. 06, Brazzaville, Congo

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Citation and License

BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 5):S3  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S5-S3

Published: 13 June 2011

Abstract

Background

In 2009 a total of 153,408 malaria deaths were reported in Africa. Eleven countries showed a reduction of more than 50% in either confirmed malaria cases or malaria admissions and deaths in recent years. However, many African countries are not on track to achieve the malaria component of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6. The African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) working session at the 15th African Union Summit discussed the bottlenecks to achieving MDG 6 (specifically halting and beginning to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015), success factors, and what countries needed to do to accelerate achievement of the MDG. The purpose of this article is to reflect on the proceedings of the ALMA working session.

Methods

Working methods of the session included speeches and statements by invited speakers and high-level panel discussions.

Discussion

The main bottlenecks identified related to the capacity of the health systems to deliver quality care and accessibility issues; need for strong, decentralized malaria-control programmes with linkages with other health and development sectors, the civil society and private sector entities; benefits of co-implementation of malaria control programmes with child survival or other public health interventions; systematic application of integrated promotive, preventive, diagnostic and case management interventions with full community participation; adapting approaches to local political, socio-cultural and administrative environments.

The following prerequisites for success were identified: a clear vision and effective leadership of national malaria control programmes; high level political commitment to ensure adequate capacity in expertise, skill mix and number of managers, technicians and service providers; national ownership, intersectoral collaboration and accountability, as well as strong civil society and private sector involvement; functional epidemiological surveillance systems; and levering of African Union and regional economic communities to address the cross-border dimension of malaria control.

It was agreed that countries needed to secure adequate domestic and external funding for sustained commitment to malaria elimination; strengthen national malaria control programmes in the context of broader health system strengthening; ensure free access to long-lasting insecticide treated nets and malaria diagnosis and treatment for vulnerable groups; strengthen human resource capacity at central, district and community levels; and establish strong logistics, information and surveillance systems.

Conclusion

It is critically important for countries to have a clear vision and strategy for malaria elimination; effective leadership of national malaria control programmes; draw lessons from other African countries that have succeeded to dramatically reduce the burden of malaria; and sustain funding and ongoing interventions.