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ECOWAS TO DEPLOY ELECTION OBSERVERS FOR MALI RUN-OFF LEGISLATIVE POLLS

Posted by African Press International on December 15, 2013


ECOWAS TO DEPLOY 50 ELECTION OBSERVERS FOR MALI RUN-OFF LEGISLATIVE POLLS

 

ABUJA, Nigeria, December 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ ECOWAS is deploying 50 election observers to Mali for the country’s second-round Parliamentary polls today 15th December 2013 following an inconclusive first-round balloting on 24 November 2013.

 

The regional Observation Mission will be headed by Prof. Amos Sawyer, former President of Liberia’s Interim Government of National Unity, who also led the 100-strong ECOWAS observers to the first round voting. He will be supported this time by Ambassador Leopold Ouedraogo, a Member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise.

 

Provisional results from the first-round elections which featured more than 1,140 candidates fielded by the ruling and opposition coalitions and independents, showed that the country’s three main political parties secured less than 20 seats out of the 147 available in the National Assembly. Turnout was put officially at 38.4 percent.

 

Mali’s electoral law provides for a run-off to be decided by a simple majority vote in a situation where no independent candidate or list of coalition candidates secured the mandatory 50 percent plus one vote in the first round.

 

In its Preliminary Declaration, the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission which observed the first round balloting across Mali’s eight regions and the Municipalities of the capital, Bamako, adjudged the conduct as credible and transparent.

 

The Mission also noted the low turnout, saying the shortcomings it observed, including the inadequate sensitization of voters and late display of Voters Lists at several polling stations “did not in any significant way, affect the conduct of the election in line with globally acceptable standards.”

 

Following the July/August successful presidential elections, the deployment of the ECOWAS Observation Mission for the legislative polls, is in furtherance of efforts aimed at helping Mali conclude the ECOWAS-facilitated transitional road map for the restoration of full constitutional order and the country’s territorial integrity in the aftermath of last year’s military coup and separatist insurrection in the north.

 

SOURCE

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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STRENGTHENING COLLABORATION – Regional Economic Communities

Posted by African Press International on November 23, 2013

ABUJA, Nigeria, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Senior officials from the African Union Commission (AUC), Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) are meeting in Abuja on the effective implementation of legal and policy instruments towards the strengthening of their cooperation.

The consultative meeting, which opened on Tuesday, 19th November, 2013 will also discuss the implementation of the AU Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) Protocol and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), defining the modalities for strengthening relations among the institutions.

It is also expected to make recommendations to enhance collaboration on evolving issues of common interest, new configurations and arrangements in the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), which comprises the Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise, the African Standby Force and the Peace fund.

Participants will also discuss cross-cutting issues including the AU’s Programme on Counterterrorism, Border Programme, and Security Reform Strategy, among others.

In an opening remark, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman reaffirmed ECOWAS’ commitment to collaborating with the AU and the rest of the international community in regional and international efforts to stabilize the security and political situation in the ECOWAS space.

The Commissioner’s address was read by the Head of ECOWAS Liaison Office to AUC, Ms. Raheemat Momodu,

The AU-PSC Secretary, Dr. Admore Kambudzi emphasized the importance of the Council as the pillar of the APSA which has asserted itself on several peace and security challenges on the continent. He therefore called on participants to ensure “we achieve desired results, in accordance with the MoU signed between the AU and the RECs/RMs.”

The workshop themed: “Towards Enhanced Partnership between the AU and RECs/RMs on Peace and Security,” is part of week-long back-to-back high-level meetings on collaboration involving the AUC, the eight RECs/RMs and key developing partners.

SOURCE

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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ECOWAS SALUTES REGION’S NATIONAL TEAMS

Posted by African Press International on November 21, 2013

ABUJA, Nigeria, November 21, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The President of the ECOWAS Commission His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has congratulated “Teams ECOWAS” – Nigeria, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire – for winning three of Africa’s five slots for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final in Brazil.

In a goodwill message to the three countries, the President said it is gratifying to note that ECOWAS national teams consolidated their sterling exploits at the Africa Nations Cup tournament earlier this year in South Africa, where they dominated the 16-nation competition with Nigeria emerging the continental Champions.

With their impressive performances in the just-concluded World Cup Africa qualification series, Teams ECOWAS have confirmed the region’s reputation as the soccer powerful of Africa.

The President assured them that the entire Community and its more than 350 million people are solidly behind them as they fly the region’s and Africa’s flags in Brazil 2014.

President Ouedraogo also wished Cameroon and Algeria, Africa’s two other World Cup qualifiers good luck and enjoined all the continent’s representatives to surpass Africa’s quarter-final record in the global football tournament.

Through hard work, discipline and dedication, he said they can bring the coveted trophy to the African soil for the first time in the World Cup history.

 

SOURCE

Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

 

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AFRICAN LEADERS, POLICYMAKERS AND YOUTH ASSEMBLED, TO ‘RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCE’ IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA ON SEPTEMBER 19-20 AT THE SECOND CHILD AND YOUTH FINANCE INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL MEETING FOR AFRICA

Posted by African Press International on September 26, 2013

LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA – On 19-20 September the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa was held in Livingstone, Zambia. The meeting gathered some of Africa’s top leaders and policymakers in financial inclusion and economic citizenship education as well as youth representatives. The leaders were expected to address cutting-edge and high-impact financial inclusion and economic citizenship education strategies and initiatives as well as to get insights from young people from across the region, under the theme of the meeting: “Reshaping the Future of Finance”.

Children and youth in sub-Saharan Africa make up 47.30% of its population. However, only 16.8% of those between ages 15-25 hold accounts at formal financial institutions. Similarly, many children in the region lack access to financial education creating cyclical patterns of uninformed financial practices.
The Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will bring together some of Africa’s finest leaders of government institutions, international and regional bodies, academia and research, the IT sector, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to show their support for financial inclusion and economic citizenship education, and help the Child and Youth Finance movement’s progress. The meeting will have 165 participants from 22 countries. It is organized by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) and the Bank of Zambia, in collaboration with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) and CareersExpo Zambia.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Reshaping the Future of Finance’. In addition to the distinguished keynote speakers, action-oriented workshops and plenary sessions that will take place, a unique feature of the meeting will be the active participation of children and youth. Young people from across the continent will come to share their views on Child and Youth Finance issues and engage with delegates in panel sessions.

The event hashtag for the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa is #CYFIZambia .

Previous CYFI Regional Meetings in Africa

The First Annual CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa took place in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2012. It was held under the distinguished patronage of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and jointly organized by the CYFI Secretariat, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Nigeria. Participants from 19 African countries participated in this groundbreaking event.

About the Child and Youth Finance Movement

CYFI is a non-profit organization that launched its global movement in April 2012. CYFI focuses on increasing financial inclusion and financial education for children and youth, so that every child can graduate from primary school with financial education and a savings account which they can own and operate. Its target is to reach 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015.

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AFRICAN LEADERS, POLICYMAKERS AND YOUTH ASSEMBLE, TO ‘RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCE

Posted by African Press International on September 19, 2013

AFRICAN LEADERS, POLICYMAKERS AND YOUTH ASSEMBLE, TO ‘RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF FINANCE’ IN LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA ON SEPTEMBER 19-20 AT THE SECOND CHILD AND YOUTH FINANCE INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL MEETING FOR AFRICA

LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA – On 19-20 September the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will be held in Livingstone, Zambia. The meeting will gather some of Africa’s top leaders and policymakers in financial inclusion and economic citizenship education as well as youth representatives. The leaders are expected to address cutting-edge and high-impact financial inclusion and economic citizenship education strategies and initiatives as well as to get insights from young people from across the region, under the theme of the meeting: “Reshaping the Future of Finance”.

Children and youth in sub-Saharan Africa make up 47.30% of its population. However, only 16.8% of those between ages 15-25 hold accounts at formal financial institutions. Similarly, many children in the region lack access to financial education creating cyclical patterns of uninformed financial practices.
The Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa will bring together some of Africa’s finest leaders of government institutions, international and regional bodies, academia and research, the IT sector, civil society, and non-governmental organizations to show their support for financial inclusion and economic citizenship education, and help the Child and Youth Finance movement’s progress. The meeting will have 165 participants from 22 countries. It is organized by Child and Youth Finance International (CYFI) and the Bank of Zambia, in collaboration with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) and CareersExpo Zambia.

The theme of the meeting is ‘Reshaping the Future of Finance’. In addition to the distinguished keynote speakers, action-oriented workshops and plenary sessions that will take place, a unique feature of the meeting will be the active participation of children and youth. Young people from across the continent will come to share their views on Child and Youth Finance issues and engage with delegates in panel sessions.

The event hashtag for the Second Child and Youth Finance Regional Meeting for Africa is #CYFIZambia .

Previous CYFI Regional Meetings in Africa

The First Annual CYFI Regional Meeting for Africa took place in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2012. It was held under the distinguished patronage of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and jointly organized by the CYFI Secretariat, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Nigeria. Participants from 19 African countries participated in this groundbreaking event.

About the Child and Youth Finance Movement

CYFI is a non-profit organization that launched its global movement in April 2012. CYFI focuses on increasing financial inclusion and financial education for children and youth, so that every child can graduate from primary school with financial education and a savings account which they can own and operate. Its target is to reach 100 million children in 100 countries by 2015.

 

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The HIV/AIDS experience – Africa

Posted by African Press International on July 26, 2013

NAIROBI,  – Twelve years after African governments pledged in the Abuja Declaration to alloc ate at least 15 percent of their annual budgets to healthcare by 2015, just six countries have met this goal.

Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Togo and Zambia have met the target, and five other countries are spending at least 13 percent of their annual budgets on health, according to data compiled by the UN World Health Organization (WHO).While on aggregate spending on health has increased – up to 10.6 percent from 8.8 – about a quarter of African Union (AU) member-states have regressed and are now spending less on health than they were in 2001, adds the WHO data.

Recently, the AU held another special summit on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in Abuja, Nigeria, dubbed Abuja +12, which provided an opportunity for African governments and other stakeholders to review progress made and to discuss what should be done to ensure health funding targets are met before 2015.

The HIV/AIDS experience

“A renewed and bold commitment here in Abuja is essential as, drawing from experiences in the AIDS response, we know that smart investments will save lives, create jobs, reinvigorate communities and further boost economic growth in Africa,” said Michel Sidibé, the executive director of UNAIDS, in a press statement.

At present, funding for healthcare remains short of requirements and is very unevenly spread across countries. According to UNAIDS, an additional US$31 billion per year will be needed to meet the continent’s 15 percent health funding targets.

As of 2011, at least 69 percent of the world’s 34 million people estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS were in sub-Saharan Africa.

But there are encouraging signs. The number of new HIV infections fell to 25 percent in 2011 compared to a decade earlier.

“The main challenge in the fight against HIV and AIDS globally is how to ensure universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support, and… ensuring zero transmission of new HIV infections in children,” wrote Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama in a blog article in May.

Among 21 priority countries in Africa, the number of children newly infected with HIV has fallen by 38 percent since 2009, according to a joint AU-UNAIDS report launched at Abuja +12.

Malaria and TB burden

Africa is also lagging behind in reducing cases of – and deaths from – TB and malaria.

Globally, Africa is the only region not on track towards halving TB deaths by 2015, and it accounts for almost a quarter of the global caseload, according to WHO.

Inadequate TB detection and drug-resistant strains of the disease, which can be 100 times more expensive to treat, pose significant challenges in Africa. About 40 percent of TB cases in Africa go undetected, adds WHO.

Malaria is also a serious health problem. Eighty percent of the world’s cases and 90 percent of malaria-related deaths occur in Africa.

“We are at a turning point for making historical gains in Liberia’s health sector – where no child dies of malaria and every mother living with HIV can give birth to HIV-negative children while living healthy lives themselves,” wrote Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, in a statement to the Global Fund.

Liberia allocates 18.9 percent of its annual budget to healthcare, the second highest proportion in Africa; Rwanda spends 23.7 percent.

Health for development

According to the AU/UNAIDS Abuja +12 report, there is an economic case to be made for further investment in healthcare: For every year that life expectancy rises across the continent, it argues, GDP will increase by 4 percent. The average life expectancy in Africa is 54.4 years, the lowest globally.

“A sick population cannot generate the productivity needed to maintain the acceleration of our economy,” said Ghana’s President Mahama.

More funding for health could also mean more jobs within the health sector. In 2012 for example, the AU approved a business plan to increase the output of the local pharmaceutical industry.

“Focusing on three things that Africa needs to do urgently – decrease dependency by growing African investments, deliver quality-assured drugs sooner to the people who need them, and leadership – the blueprint will help African countries to build long-term and sustainable solutions,” stated Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, the AU Commissioner of Social Affairs, in a statement, ahead of the Abuja +12 summit. “Africa’s health and our prosperity are inextricably linked.”

aps/aw/rz source http://www.irinnews.org

 

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Human rights groups insist that peace without justice is unsustainable and are urging Nigeria not to implement a blanket amnesty.

Posted by African Press International on July 16, 2013

DAKAR,  – As Nigeria attempts a ceasefire with militan t Islamist group Boko Haram (BH), analysts warn against a blanket amnesty and urge that an expanded International Criminal Court (ICC) probe include alleged abuses by the military.

The ceasefire is being negotiated by a government panel set up to develop an amnesty for BH, but details as to when the truce will be signed, whether all the BH factions have agreed to it, or if the amnesty has played a role in the planned ceasefire, remain sketchy.

Human rights groups insist that peace without justice is unsustainable and are urging Nigeria not to implement a blanket amnesty.

“War crimes, crimes against humanity, torture should not be subject to an amnesty. That is part of international law and part of ensuring a durable peace,” Elise Keppler, senior counsel in the international justice programme at Human Rights Watch (HRW), told IRIN. “There could be an amnesty for taking up arms or committing lesser abuses, but the key is that it doesn’t extend to the gravest crimes.”

Nigeria has forgiven rebels in the past – most notably in the Niger Delta where militants who surrendered arms were pardoned.

Last year the ICC, which opened preliminary investigations into the BH unrest in 2010, found that there was a “reasonable basis” to believe that the militia had committed crimes against humanity, citing widespread and systematic attacks that killed more than 1,200 Christian and Muslim civilians in Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe and Kano states in the north as well as Abuja, Kaduna and Plateau states in central Nigeria.

BH is accused of killing thousands across northern Nigeria since 2009. Militants have attacked churches, murdered civilians and carried out suicide bombings against security forces, newspapers, a UN office, markets and schools.

ICC urged to widen its scope

Analysts have urged the ICC to widen its scope to include the Nigerian security forces, which HRW and others accuse of killings, burning homes and ransacking towns including Baga, a remote community in the northeastern state of Borno.

“At the moment the ICC investigation is great for the Nigerian government as it’s just about BH,” said Kevin Jon Heller, associate professor and reader at Melbourne Law School.

“But the court is going to be essentially useless if it becomes the ICC for rebels. The biggest challenge for the court is how to investigate government officials and military officials that are associated with government when that government is still in power. I don’t think they have a very easy solution for that.”

Claus Molitor, a situation analyst with the Office of the Prosecutor, pointed out that the court has previously targeted top government officials including Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.

“We follow the facts and we follow the law,” he said. “We base our decision on the legal requirements of the Rome Statute. It has nothing to do with policy. It has nothing to do with preferring rebels over government forces.”

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that BH did launch a systematic and widespread attack on civilians, but we can’t say the same for the state forces,” he added. “We’re not closing the door on anything at this stage. Should there be new information we will assess that.”

Mixed messages

Atta Barkindo, an expert on BH and researcher in political Islam, conflict and transitional justice in post-conflict societies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, however, believes that an amnesty could end the “continuous bloodletting and killing” and is important for reconciliation.

But he thinks the government of President Goodluck Jonathan has sent the rebels mixed messages. In April it offered an amnesty, then a month later declared emergency rule in the northern states and launched an air and ground campaign against BH.

“It’s like a war zone,” said Barkindo, who recently travelled to the region. “Soldiers are all over the place. There are checkpoints every 45 minutes and a curfew.”

Recent violence suggests that the military crackdown may not be working.

An attack in early July on a school in northeastern state of Yobe, one of the three under emergency rule, killed dozens of students. Some were reportedly burned alive and others shot. It is not yet clear who is responsible for the attack, but BH has previously targeted schools in the region.

SOAS researcher in conflict and identity in northern Nigeria Bala Mohammed Liman says determining exactly which crimes BH may have committed is difficult as its members are hard to identify.

“They are a shadowy group and apart from (leader) Abubakar Shekau no one is sure who the other members are,” he said. “Every act of criminality in the north is attached to BH, and the security forces are so inept that they haven’t been able to figure out who committed some of these crimes. So in the end everything that happens is said to be BH.”

ICC assessing judiciary

The ICC is now assessing whether the Nigerian government is investigating and prosecuting those who committed the most serious crimes. Under ICC rules, it can only intervene when the domestic authorities are unable or unwilling to prosecute.

Four members of BH were recently sentenced to life imprisonment for the bombings of an electoral commission office and a church.

ICC’s Molitor said that as part of its preliminary examination the court is monitoring the national proceedings. This includes speaking to people who monitor BH trials to determine fairness and whether the rights of the defendants are being respected.

“We haven’t come to any conclusions as yet,” he said, adding that Nigeria is cooperating with the ICC and that a team from the prosecutor’s office may visit this year to follow up on previous missions to Abuja.

Nigeria capable of prosecuting BH crimes, say some

Melbourne Law School’s Heller, however, said Nigeria was capable of prosecuting alleged BH crimes.

“Nothing is preventing Nigeria from prosecuting members of BH other than their inability to get their hands on them,” he said. “Nigeria has a functioning judicial system and has every interest in capturing and prosecuting high-level members of BH so why should the ICC waste its precious resources on prosecutions that the government is perfectly willing to do?”

SOAS’s Barkindo believes that Nigeria should take the lead on BH prosecutions to end the culture of impunity. “Nigeria needs to prove to its citizens that you cannot do these things and go free,” he said.

He also argued that neither amnesties nor prosecutions will work if the government does not address the fundamental problems in the north that give rise to militancy.

“If you don’t deal with these structural problems you will leave it open to another group coming up,” said Barkindo. “The government must address the issues of poverty, unemployment and particularly the issue of education. A lot of young people remain illiterate in northern Nigeria compared to the south.”

lc/ob/cb source http://www.irinnews.org

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Pre-Trial Chamber II requests Nigeria to immediately arrest Omar Al Bashir

Posted by African Press International on July 15, 2013

Situation: Darfur, Sudan

Case: The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir

On 15 July 2013, Pre-Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Court (ICC) requested the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir, on visit to Abuja (Nigeria) and to surrender him to the ICC. Omar Al Bashir faces charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, allegedly committed in Darfur (Sudan).

The Chamber recalled that Nigeria is a State party to the Rome Statute since= 2001, and has the obligation to execute the Court’s orders. The Chamber also noted that the situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC by resolution 1= 593 of the United Nations Security Council and that, according to article 87 (7) of the Rome Statute, “[w]here a State Party fails to comply with a request to cooperate by the Court contrary to the provisions of this Statute [… ] the Court may make a finding to that effect and refer the matter to the Assembly of States Parties or, where the Security Council referred the matter to the Court, to the Security Council”.

The Chamber instructed the ICC Registrar to immediately transmit the decision to the Nigerian authorities, and to prepare a report to the Chamber concer= ning Omar Al Bashir’s visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Background

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir is alleged to have committed five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape), two counts of war crimes (intentionally directing attacks agains= t a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities, and pillaging), and three counts of genocide committed against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups. Two warrants of arrest ha= ve been issued in this case. The suspect remains at large.

The ICC has informed the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of= States Parties to the Rome Statute of Mr Al Bashir’s visits to Djibouti, Ch= ad and Kenya, as well as of the non-cooperation of Malawi and Chad in arresting Mr Al Bashir. It is for the United Nations Security Council and the Assembly of States Parties to take any measure they may deem appropriate to ensure the full cooperation with the ICC.

 

End

source ICC

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AFRICAN MEDIA AND MALARIA NETWORK ASK GOVERNMENTS TO STEP UP WAR AGAINST MALARIA

Posted by African Press International on April 30, 2013

  • By Dickens Wasonga, 
As the World marks Malaria Day, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership(RBM) is set to launch a three-year campaign under the theme “Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria.”
The campaign is to help strengthen political will and generate the funding needed to continue averting deaths in malaria-endemic countries.
According to sources mapping progress against key milestones on the road to 2015 shows how the collective efforts of the global malaria community contribute to creating a healthier and more prosperous world.
The source adds that the RBM campaign will help mobilize the resources and support the malaria fight through 2015 and beyond.
The African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN), a Network with membership in 10 African countries engaged in malaria control advocacy, believes the global malaria community is doing the right thing by taking stock of the promises and realities of ending malaria deaths at the targeted date of 2015.
According to Mrs Charity Binka of Ghana who is also the AMMREN CEO, many African countries missed the 2010 Abuja targets to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality by half.
Binka pointed out that with less than two years to meeting the 2015 targets of further reduction of 75% in morbidity and 50% reduction in mortality, countries are now scaling up efforts to at least sustain the modest gains made over the last decade.
The CEO said her AMMREN is of the view that the gains made in malaria control are fragile and could easily be reversed unless malaria continues to be a priority for decision-makers, donors and the communities.
According to her ,this is because the efforts and resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next years will have an impact on whether or not the malaria map will keep shrinking or expanded by the malaria parasites.
While commending, governments, donors, health officials and other key players for efforts made in past decade to bring down malaria morbidity and mortality figures, she said AMMREN is of the view that the widespread negative practice of the treating malaria without diagnosis is likely to hinder the acceleration of the control efforts.
Over 80% of cases of malaria is still being treated without diagnostic testing in many malaria –endemic countries in Africa according to WHO.
The world health body reveals that the universal diagnostic testing will ensure that patients with fever receive the most appropriate treatment, and that antimalarial medicines are used rationally and correctly.
AMMREN is now calling for the scaling up of diagnosis before treatment and a massive deployment of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) to ensure that appropriately diagnosed cases are treated promptly and correctly.
Some African countries have made significant gains in this regard. The WHO indicates that 60 African governments were providing ACTs free of charge to all age groups as at 2010.
The network is of the view that there must be a scaling up of these laudable efforts so that millions of African who still lack ready access to appropriate treatment will be covered to ensure that every confirmed malaria case gets treated.
It is also asking for a focused attention on preventive activities through the use of treated bed nets. This is because in the fight against malaria, prevention is the best of all options. The higher the number of people using bed nets, the bigger the rate of reduction in malaria cases.
It shares in the optimism of African scientists, the donor community and stakeholders, that malaria can be pushed out of Africa this century.
However, this optimism must be measured against promises made about 13 years ago, when 40 African Heads of State made a declaration in Abuja, Nigeria to reduce the malaria burden on the continent by setting targets.
Many countries have missed the 2005 and 2010 targets and also likely to miss the 2015 targets unless conscious efforts are made increase access to essential malaria interventions such as diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
The continued existence of taxes and tariffs on commodities for malaria control in some countries shows lack of commitment towards dealing with malaria.
Taxes and tariffs and non-tariff measures make these life-saving products unaffordable to the poor and vulnerable.
Despite challenges, in the last decade, there have been some investments in new tools such as long lasting insecticidal nets, rapid diagnostic tests, indoor residual spraying and ACTs. The scaling up of these activities has resulted in modest progress as some countries are now moving from control activities to malaria elimination.
Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe in 2009, according to a Roll Back Malaria report, have joined other countries in their region to form a sub-regional malaria elimination initiative known as Elimination 8.
The Gambia, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe and Madagascar have also secured global funds to prepare for elimination. And since 2007, countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has shown the intent to eliminate malaria.
“As of 2010, the total number of reported cases of malaria in Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland were relatively low raising hope of elimination,” the report added.
With talks of malaria elimination slowly making its way to the front burner, the question of malaria vaccines, as an additional tool must be given urgency and supported by all stakeholders to ensure that it is quickly incorporated into the National Immunization Day schedule once a vaccine receives licensure.
So far the RTS,S, appears to be most promising malaria candidate vaccine. If all goes well the vaccine could be available for targeted use in the next couple of years for young children.
Indeed there is hope on the horizon and AMMREN will continue to lead in providing accurate and timely information on malaria as part of its effort to wipe out the disease from the face of the globe. AMMREN also urges other African journalists to join in the malaria elimination crusade.
Kicking out malaria from Africa is a responsibility of governments, identifiable organizations, communities and individuals. April 25 should be seen as a day of renewal of commitment to work towards a malaria free society.
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