THE newly appointed End Malaria Council has committed itself to advancing efforts towards increased domestic investments to eliminate the disease by 2021.
The government through the Ministry of Health on Thursday convened the End Malaria Council (EMC) meeting to discuss its operations.
The Council discussed the operational framework with a more formal legal structure to be established in the coming weeks.
The EMC will drive action and accountability, resource mobilisation and advocacy for continued and enhanced national prioritisation of malaria across all sectors.
The Council is composed of leaders from key government institutions, the private sector and community leaders.
Health minister Dr Chitalu Chilifya who chairs the council said health was an economic investment.
“We set bold and ambitious targets and committed to eliminate malaria in Zambia by 2021. The End Malaria Council will steer action towards meeting our goals through increased domestic resource allocation to malaria, fostering efficiencies and value for money in programme implementation and advocate sustained donor commitments, and resource mobilisation for the existing US$100 million gap,” said Dr Chilufya.
According to the statement, health is linked to social and economic development.
It stated that Zambia was committed to remain on track and continuously continue to make progress made over the past decade with significant investments.
It stated that Zambia needed to move swiftly to close the funding gap and ensure greater savings through allocative efficiencies and value for money.
It stated that Zambia’s efforts to reduce the malaria burden and address other health challenges were part of a broader agenda aimed at sustainable socio-economic development and structural transformation.
The country’s long-term development agenda is guided by the Vision 2030 Strategy, which seeks to transform Zambia into ‘a prosperous middle-income nation by 2030.’
The Vision 2030 Strategy is being implemented through successive five-year national development plans.
Vision 2030 identifies malaria control as a key priority area to achieve the broader development goals.
“The private sector for any economy is a driver of creation of wealth through innovative products and services. A healthy population is critical to improved production and productivity for economic growth which directly depends on the well-being of the population,” said Bridget Kambobe, Group public relations and corporate affairs director for Trade Kings.
The statement stated that despite reducing the number of cases by 61 per cent since 2001, Zambia experiences nearly 3.5 million cases of malaria each year.
“Furthermore, over 16 million Zambians are at risk, including the most vulnerable groups, such as pregnant women and children under the age of five years. Each case imposes a significant social and economic cost in the form of lower gross domestic product, reduced worker productivity, worker and school absenteeism and deaths in the working-age population. Eliminating malaria is essential to building a healthy and productive Zambia. Zambia’s malaria response resource requirements are estimated at just over $694 million,” it stated.
The meeting was also attended by the Bank of Zambia, Zambia Revenue Authority, First Quantum Minerals Limited, Anglican Church, Kansai Plascon, chief Mumena, Trade Kings and development partners.
This is according to Amu Mudenda from Malaria Elimination Centre Social and Behavioural Change Communication and Ministry of Health head communications and external relations Stanslous Ngosa.