Francis Omaswa answers questions on what is needed for World Malaria Day.
Kampala, 22 April 2021 – Over the past two decades, the world has made great progress inreducing malaria cases and deaths, but the pace has stalled in many high malaria burden African countries. Global malaria cases dropped by 29% between 2000 and 2019, but only by 2% between 2015 and 2019 when deaths fell by 15% compared with 60% between 2000 and 2019. Professor Francis Omaswa, Executive Director of the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation, explains what needs to be done to get malaria control and prevention back on track.
Why do we need to rethink malaria prevention? There are two major reasons why we need to rethink malaria in Africa. First, is the fact that performance indicators have stagnated and are getting worse in some areas. Second, is that health systems are transitioning from top-down leadership to community ownership with generation and application of local solutions by the affected communities. We are off the track towards malaria elimination due to governance issues. Less money is going into malaria prevention programmes. The burden of malaria is not seen as a priority by political leaders and even the population themselves. There is a slackening of effort despite data indicating that we are stagnating.
The new direction for malaria control is to stop the top-down response and embark on an integrated, people-centred primary health care systems. This is the foundation of health systems of the future not only for malaria control but to achieve Universal Health Coverage and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.