Policies and partnerships to support malaria elimination

James P. Zumwalt, US Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, committed to the "Zero Malaria! Count Me In" by signing the Declaration of Commitment and recording commitment messages. The Declaration was signed alongside Dr. Mady Ba, Senegal National Malaria Control Program Coordinator. Photo: Speak Up Africa.

James P. Zumwalt, US Ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, committed to the “Zero Malaria! Count Me In” by signing the Declaration of Commitment and recording commitment messages. The Declaration was signed alongside Dr. Mady Ba, Senegal National Malaria Control Program Coordinator. Photo: Speak Up Africa.

To make an impact, innovative malaria elimination strategies rely on political support. Decision-makers must develop and adopt policies that enable the implementation of cutting edge approaches. Health workers must be given the mandate and the authority to carry out malaria work, and drugs must be approved for novel uses. The work must be funded in a sustainable way. And strong partnerships between diverse constituencies—the government malaria program, the private sector, and NGOs, among others—are essential to driving progress towards elimination

Successfully cultivating a political environment supportive of malaria elimination can include:

  • Reducing policy barriers, for example by leveraging research to inform and develop policy recommendations and strategy and to identify priorities, such as ensuring that drugs needed for malaria elimination have been reviewed and approved by all relevant authorities, or that health workers and private drug sellers have the legal status to draw blood by finger-prick and to administer anti-malarial drugs.
  • Mobilizing resources for program implementation and operational research both internally from government revenues and from external partners and institutions. Outreach to the office of the Minister of Finance and working relationships with Parliamentarians dedicated to defeating malaria are two common approaches to generate domestic funds. External funding might include grants from bilateral or multilateral agencies or foundations, loans, donations generated by public campaigns, contributions from the private sector, innovative financing mechanism and in-kind inputs.
  • Facilitating partnerships. Malaria affects communities in many ways, for example by disrupting school attendance during illness and keeping parents away from their jobs while they care for the children. Because malaria harms many, there are great opportunities to discover allies and work together towards a common goal. MACEPA works closely with many partners in our project countries, regionally, and globally to move the elimination agenda forward. Stakeholder analysis is one of the tools we use to better understand the policy landscape, develop advocacy strategies and guide program implementation.

To achieve an ambitious goal like malaria elimination, support at all political levels, from the highest offices to district decision-makers, is essential. But responsibility for creating partnerships does not end there—it also is crucial to mobilize a local team, including community members.