By Gabriel Olawale
The Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa, CAMA announced the launch of its strategic plan for 2021-2023, which sets out the blueprint for action for the next three years.
Through private sector initiatives, the Alliance aims to reach millions of people with malaria control interventions to improve awareness and scale up prevention activities. The plan was launched at CAMA’s 2020 Partners Meeting, which took place virtually on 24 November 2020.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic places an extra burden on health systems worldwide. Many countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are now facing a double challenge of protecting their citizens against existing threats to public health, like malaria, and emerging ones, like COVID-19. The malaria situation in Africa was critical before the emergence of COVID-19, which now threatens to derail years of progress in the fight against malaria. In 2018, the WHO African Region accounted for 94% of all malaria deaths and 93% (213 million) of global malaria cases.
From its inception, CAMA has been a trusted platform for knowledge sharing and networking, with an initial focus on workplace programs and corporate-led community malaria programs. Over the past decade, CAMA has evolved to an Alliance with broad sector representation, beyond the extractives industry, to include commodity manufacturers, construction firms, beverage firms and financial services firms. Today it also facilitates private sector engagement in the development of national malaria responses as well as region-wide initiatives.
“We benefit from healthier communities, as they’re interlinked with our business outcomes, with economies, and with improving local capacities,” said Michael Steinberg, Team Lead, Global Public Health & Special Projects, Chevron Corporation, and Co-Chair, CAMA. “CAMA’s work also contributes to improved systems, partnerships and learnings that benefit local capacities well beyond [malaria], and really supports global health security.”
Key outcomes of the strategic plan include expanded private sector engagement and investment in malaria programming, reaching at least five million people directly with malaria commodities and 100 million people with prevention and control messages through strengthened public-private partnerships, and more.
“There’s still so much we can do together to advance our objective as a responsible coalition and as responsible businesses in the face of global health challenges,” said Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability, Access Bank, and Co-Chair, CAMA. “I assure you of our continued commitment to foster collaborative efforts in the fight against malaria.”
Key elements of the strategic plan include expanding work in high burden countries to rapidly reduce malaria cases and deaths through improved private sector engagement; providing support to businesses to develop and scale up workplace as well as community-based initiatives which will enhance malaria control and elimination efforts in-country; helping to guide regional and national policies and strategies to enhance control and accelerate elimination of malaria; continuing to serve as a neutral forum and platform to share information, best practices and enhance member understanding and program visibility; and fostering multi-sector coordination and partnerships with key stakeholders and influencers in the health community to scale up malaria control and elimination efforts in country.
The End Malaria Project will be a major initiative under the new strategic plan. It will be launched as a pilot program in Nigeria and expand to other high-burden countries in Africa. The project will galvanize private sector resources and capabilities towards reducing the incidence and prevalence of malaria in the most endemic communities in Nigeria by 2023 – a step towards complementing the government’s efforts in achieving a malaria-free Nigeria.
“This meeting has come at the right time; the [Nigeria National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP)] is just about to launch the new strategic plan which will run from 2021-2025,” said Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, Coordinator, NMEP. “We have seen how the private sector has made a big difference when the COVID-19 pandemic began… We’re sure that this partnership and collaboration will go a long way for [Nigeria] to address the issue of malaria.”
“Over the years we’ve realized that private sector engagement is very effective when we adopt the right strategies, and so we are going to intensify [these efforts] in our next strategic plan,” said Eunice Mintah Agyemang, BCC Specialist, National Malaria Control Programme, representing Dr. Keziah Malm, National Coordinator, National Malaria Control Programme, Ghana. “We have launched a committee which is looking into advocacy strategies to engage private sector and other public sector institutions that will be relevant to improving our strategies”