WHO and partners launch Malaria Situation Room at Abuja+12 Summit
The Malaria Situation Room, a joint initiative that will provide critical malaria intelligence in support of 10 African countries, was officially launched on 13 July 2013 at a ministerial side event during the Special Summit of the African Union on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria.
The initiative was introduced by Dr Robert Newman, Director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme and Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traore, Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, to an audience of over 100 delegates, including ministers of health from the region and other dignitaries.
Dr Alexandre Manguele, Minister of Health of Mozambique, gave an official address to welcome the initiative, highlighting the critical importance of intelligence gathering and information sharing in the fight against malaria. To mark the official launch of the Malaria Situation Room, a red ribbon was cut by Dr Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, the African Union’s Commissioner for Social Affairs.
The ministerial side event – which also witnessed the presentation of the latest scorecard of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and the launch of a new WHO operational manual on larval source management – was closed by Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, Minister of Health of Nigeria, who also welcomed the Malaria Situation Room, stressing that it was imperative to accelerate progress against the disease.
What the Malaria Situation Room does
The Malaria Situation Room offers urgent, strategic support to the 10 hardest hit countries in Africa – Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Niger – as they strive to achieve health-related MDGs and other global targets before the end of 2015.
The initiative is spearheaded by WHO and the RBM Partnership Secretariat, together with the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Financing the Health MDGs and for Malaria, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
The 10 focus countries collectively bear over 70% of the malaria burden, with the highest infection and death rates in Africa and the world. Bottlenecks related to financing, human resources, procurement and supply chain management often interrupt the flow of life-saving commodities such as anti-malarial medicines, diagnostics and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs).
The Malaria Situation Room, with 3 years of operational funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will work with the countries to identify and track the flow of funding and supply of essential commodities, as well as coverage with life-saving interventions.
It will collate data from each country, to anticipate bottlenecks and will work with the countries to develop rapid solutions, liaising with a powerful network of partners, who can mobilize resources and translate information into action.