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Yaounde Declaration: African Health Ministers Commit to Ending Malaria Deaths

In a landmark gathering in Yaoundé, Cameroon, health ministers from 11 African nations, along with global malaria partners and stakeholders, convened to address the escalating malaria crisis in Africa. Despite available tools and systems, malaria cases surged globally, with Africa bearing the brunt, accounting for 94% of cases and 95% of deaths in 2022.

Current Status of Malaria

  • Global malaria cases rose from 233 million to 249 million between 2019 and 2022.
  • Africa witnessed a significant increase from 218 million to 233 million cases during the same period, marking it as the epicenter of the malaria crisis.
  • The 11 African countries represented at the conference face the highest burden of malaria infections and deaths.

Ministerial Commitment

  • Health ministers from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania expressed unwavering commitment to eradicate malaria.
  • They pledged to leverage global commitments and regional strategies, including dedicating 15% of annual budgets to strengthen the health sector, as endorsed by African heads of state.
  • Political will must translate into tangible actions on the ground to combat malaria effectively.

Progress and Challenges

  • Despite some progress, malaria incidence has only declined by 7.6% and mortality by 11.3%, falling short of African Union’s interim goals.
  • Only seven out of 46 member states have achieved a 40% reduction in malaria incidence or mortality.
  • Urgent action is needed to fill a financial gap of $1.5 billion to sustain basic malaria services, particularly for vector control.
  • Without additional funding of $5.2 billion annually to make progress towards elimination and $11 billion for climate adaptation in the health sector, significant surges in cases and deaths, especially among vulnerable populations like children and pregnant women, are anticipated.

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