Kenyatta takes over continental anti-malaria leadership

13Feb 2020
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Kenyatta takes over continental anti-malaria leadership

​​​​​​​PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya has assumed Chairmanship of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA)—a coalition of African Heads of State and Government advancing advocacy efforts, resource mobilization and accountability in the fight against malaria across Africa.

President Kenyatta becomes ALMA’s seventh chair and will serve for a two-year term, from February 2020 to February 2022. He takes over from King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

According to a statement released yesterday by ALMA, Kenyatta assumed the new role on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

“I am honoured to take over this role as ALMA chair.  Significant gains have been made in the battle against malaria and progress needs to be accelerated. As we enter the decade to end malaria, I am committed to ensuring that we accelerate progress and end this ancient scourge! At the heart of Africa’s Agenda 2063: the Africa We Want, is improved health outcomes so that our people and economies continue to grow,” the statement quotes Kenyatta as saying.

During his term, Mswati III played a key role in the launch of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign which, to date, has launched in 13 countries across the continent. Also, together with the African Union Commission, he initiated the annual Africa Malaria Progress Report and launched the first End Malaria Fund in May 2019 to mobilize domestic resources for Eswatini’s malaria control and elimination programme.

His Majesty King Mswati III said during the handover event: “We have enjoyed our role as chair of ALMA and will continue the work to end malaria for all Africans. We see other countries establishing their own End Malaria Funds and look forward to seeing them scaled up across the African continent.”

Malaria remains a significant challenge in Africa: the continent accounts for 93 per cent of global malaria cases as well as 94 per cent of global malaria deaths. There is an urgent need to act in 10 high-burden African Union Member States, who account for 67 per cent of global malaria cases and 62 per cent of deaths.

Amira El-Fadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs for the African Union Commission said: “Ending malaria on the African continent is a key priority outlined in the Catalytic Framework to End HIV, TB and Eliminate Malaria and we are committed to achieving this goal. I welcome His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta as the new chair of ALMA and look forward to working with him to end this terrible disease.”

Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, welcomed the new ALMA chair saying: “Leadership by African Heads of State is paramount if we are to reach the ambitious goal of a malaria-free Africa within a generation, and ALMA continues to be a key strategic partner of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria.  We look forward to continuing this collaboration and supporting His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta’s work to end malaria in Kenya and across the continent.”

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