By Sola Ogundipe
ADDITIONAL US$3.2 million, about N5.12 billion, is required in funding over the next three years towards further scaling up malaria control efforts to prevent 640 million cases and avert three million malaria-related deaths in Nigeria and the rest of Africa by the end of 2015.
Disclosing this in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the just concluded African Union Summit, Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the need to scale up and achieve universal access to malaria prevention and treatment was inevitable.
According to Johnson, who is also Chairman of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance which is an alliance of 43 African Heads of State and the African Union, “A share of the required resources needs to come from Africa. We can’t ask the world to invest in Africa’s health if we won’t make the same investment ourselves, but we will need the world’s help,” she noted.
Earlier, an independent study found that every dollar invested in malaria control in Africa generates on average $40 in GDP on the continent. The study was commissioned by ALMA in collaboration with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
At the meeting, the Alliance particularly stressed the need for African countries to strengthen their financial management and enhance efficiencies in procuring life-saving interventions such as Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies, ACTs, rapid diagnostic tests, RDTs, indoor residual spraying,IRS, and long-lasting insecticidal nets, LLINs. For instance, just by standardizing LLIN net specifications, it is estimated that African countries could save $630 million over five years.
According to the ALMA Scorecard for Accountability and Action monitoring progress toward the Abuja target of 15 percent national public sector financing for health,14 African countries have responded by increasing their domestic contribution to health by more than 2 percent, while only Botswana, Rwanda, Togo and Zambia have achieved or exceeded the Abuja target.
Meanwhile, the Alliance has continued to promote the adoption of innovative financing initiatives in African countries, such as the UNITAID airline tax. Over the last 5 years, the airline tax has raised over $2 billion of which $1.2 billion has been invested in the global fight against HIV & AIDS, TB, and malaria.