Women4GlobalFund World Malaria Day Statement – Zero Malaria Starts with Me
To download the full W4GF statement click here.
Why the Global Malaria Response Is Important for Women?
Whilst all people exposed to malaria can be affected, the risks of exposure and limitationsto accessing adequate prevention and treatment remain disproportionately high amongst women. (UNDP December 2015) Unequal gender roles and gender dynamics give rise to different vulnerabilities (Measure Evaluation March 2017) and acombination of biological, socio-economic and cultural factors increase susceptibility amongst women. Specifically, adolescent girls between 15-19 years, women living with HIV, pregnant women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are particularly affected (Roll back Malaria partnership September 2015); (Measure Evaluation March 2017).
Approximately 70% of malaria deaths are among pregnant women and children under five. Biology and socio-economic factors such as poverty, low levels of literacy, lack of economic power, decision-making and cultural factors determine and contribute to the low levels of prevention, transmission and treatment of malaria. Prevention for women largely focuses on preventative treatment in pregnancy with the implementation of intermittent preventative treatment in pregnancy (IPTp). There is some improvement but much still needs to be done. Among 33 African countries that reported on IPTp coverage levels in 2017, an estimated 22% of eligible pregnant women received the recommended three or more doses of IPTp, compared with 17% in 2015 and 0% in 2010. (WHO 2018 World Malaria Report).
This World Malaria Day
The theme for World Malaria Day 2019 is ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’. This calls for personal commitments to end malaria. This theme reminds us, especially those of us living in malaria-endemic countries, that we have personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our families – and to hold our leaders accountable to meet their commitments to end malaria. This World Malaria Day, join W4GF in urging our country leaders to #endmalaria for good!
We also welcome and celebrate the birth of the new Global Civil Society for Malaria Elimination (CS4ME) network, which is launched today in Paris. The CS4ME website, also launched today, opens with a global call for Membership from civil society organizations working on malaria across the world. Join CS4ME
“CS4ME aims to connect and build capacities of civil society organizations and communities and advocate for fully funded and efficient malaria responses. We see the role of civil society and communities, we need advocacy for political commitment to be made. We also need advocacy to ensure commitments are fulfilled and to keep our leaders accountable. We cannot sit, talk and wait – we need to take action and be operational now. Join us in this new journey, let’s work smarter, stronger and together! Let’s accelerate the fight! so we can end malaria.” Olivia Ngou, CS4ME Global Coordinator, Cameroon.
As highlighted above, malaria has special gendered challenges for women in all our diversity. 2019 is a critical year for the malaria response. Given that the Global Fund finances over half of all malaria work, we must fully fund the Global Fund with $14billion in the next Global Fund Replenishment. To read more from the Global Fund click here.
After over a decade of advances in addressing malaria, progress has slowed and plateaued. An estimated US$2.7 billion was invested in malaria control and elimination efforts globally in 2016 – less than half the estimated 2020 resources needed. (The GLOBAL FUND)
Global targets to eradicate malaria link to the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (GTS) 2016-2030 and the Action and Investment to defeat Malaria (AIM) 2016-2030. Both the GTS and AIM are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) Target 3.3. They emphasise prevention, reducing morbidity and mortality, and financial investment in research and development to create a world free of malaria.
With $14billion we can continue to fund vital prevention strategies and treatments for malaria. As noted in the WHO 2018 World Malaria Report, several countries that carry a disproportionate burden of disease have reported increases in malaria cases, setting back the global response to malaria. More than 435 000 preventable deaths were recorded in 2018 with 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carrying almost 80% of the global malaria burden. Pregnant women and children under five years are the most vulnerable. At the same time malaria investment remains inadequate.
How Is W4GF Supporting The Malaria Response?
Last year (April 2018) W4GF called for the following:
- The creation of a gender assessment tool to monitor malaria or conduct research on the barriers for men and women in accessing prevention and treatment interventions for malaria
- Disaggregate data in health systems to inform prevention and treatment interventions
- The development of gender indicators and support programmes to address gender inequality, gender disparities and gaps.
One year later, as the world gathers in Paris today to build support and action around malaria, W4GF is excited about the impending launch of the Malaria Matchbox Toolkit which is an assessment tool. This is designed to improve the quality of malaria responses, by bringing into perspective how social, economic, cultural and gender-related barriers shape malaria epidemics in a country or region. Although not as a result on W4GF’s call, we are delighted that the Tool responds to all these critical needs. As it rolls out, W4GF will support Advocates to ensure that their countries leverage this tool to develop gender-responsive malaria programs.
“There are people left behind for many reasons, not only economical but also social. We welcome the malaria matchbox, that will help to identify the most vulnerable populations and strategies and reduce barriers to access to malaria services. We call for more engagement and collaboration with researchers including sociologists and anthropologists to ensure programs are tailored to social realities and contexts”. Olivia Ngou, CS4ME Global Coordinator, Cameroon.
The Malaria Matchbox Toolkitaims to contribute to SDG3 and ensure no one is left behind. W4GF welcomes this important Toolkit to galvanize and build momentum around the malaria response as countries strive to end malaria. The Malaria Matchbox Toolkit has been piloted in Niger and will enable civil society working in malaria and other key communities to advocate for more effective action around malaria and gender at national levels.