Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative unites governments, religious groups and communities in support of Zero Malaria Starts with Me
Livingstone, Zambia – On February 28th and March 1st, 2019 malaria partners joined together at the Annual Round Table hosted by the J.C. Flowers Foundation’s Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative.
The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative partners with national governments, the Anglican Church, NGOs, and community members to eliminate malaria along the shared borders of Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As members of southern Africa’s “Elimination 8,” these countries are committed to ending malaria in the region by 2030 through coordinating interventions among members and maintaining the support of political leaders, the private sector and communities.
Focusing on community engagement, the Round Table prominently displayed the 2019 World Malaria Day theme “Zero Malaria Starts with Me,” in recognition that each and every person—from bishop to community organizer to researcher to mother—has a key role in malaria elimination.
Zambian Minister of Health, The Honourable Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, formally opened the Round Table by stressing the importance of involving communities in the elimination process. “We will not have success in universal health coverage without eliminating malaria,” he said, “and we will not have success in eliminating malaria if we do not engage effectively with the community.”
Zambia has a history of innovation and commitment to the fight against malaria. Zambia was one of the first countries to demonstrate that the scale-up of preventive tools was feasible and could create a huge impact against the disease. In recent years, Zambia has mobilised community volunteers to bring testing and treatment services within reach of rural populations, adopting an ambitious goal of national malaria elimination by 2021.
Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, Elimination 8 Ambassador, RBM Partnership to End Malaria Board Member and former Minister of Health of Namibia highlighted the role of religious organisations. “The Zero Malaria Starts With Me campaign will not be easy,” he said, “but together with the church, with the communities, we will figure out what needs to be done. We are seeing results.”
Later in the week, Zambia launched the End Malaria Council, a group of Ministers, civil society and private sector leaders who will work to create a multisectoral coalition in support of malaria efforts.