On Thursday the 4th March, 2021, over 80 private sector companies were represented at the virtual Private Sector Roundtable, as part of the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign – a Pan-African movement mobilizing all sectors of society to work towards the elimination of malaria by 2030.
The roundtable event sought to increase the awareness of private sector companies about the pressing need for its involvement in the fight against malaria and motivate companies to work with the National Malaria Control Program to ensure the robust execution of their ambitious National Malaria Strategic Plan (2020-2025) and the Global Technical Strategy (2030). The meeting sparks a meaningful discussion and greater participation of the private sector for a sustainable collaboration with the National Malaria Control Programme.
“I am today thrilled to declare “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” and commit to AngloGold Ashanti playing a leading role in contributing to the important goal of eliminating malaria in Ghana. Reaching this goal will benefit not only the health of Ghanaians, but the economy and prosperity of society as a whole”, said Mr Samuel Asiedu, Programme Director, AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Programme (AGAMAL).
Malaria is endemic in Ghana, and while fatalities have reduced by 88% since 2012, malaria remains a huge burden throughout the country, with the WHO estimating 6.7 million cases in 2018 alone and only an 8% reduction in malaria-related hospital admissions since 2012.
“We are honoured to have the support and partnership of the private sector in order to take the fight against malaria to the next level. We look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration”, added Dr. Keziah Malm, Programme Manager of the National Malaria Control Program.
With an estimated annual global funding gap of $2 billion a year in order to meet the World Health Organisation’s Global Technical Strategy, the necessity of resource mobilization from both public and private sources is becoming increasingly urgent. This is why one of the central pillars of the “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” campaign is the engagement of the private sector.
Malaria has a huge burden on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, but it also has a profoundly negative impact the private sector, due to reduced productivity, employee absenteeism, reduced household purchasing power and increased health expenditure. According a recent study, an estimated 17-31 million days of work are lost each year because of malaria. This is equivalent to losing 79-142 thousand workers. Also, households continue to spend a significant amount (US$5.70-US$48.73 per case) out-of-pocket to seek treatment and care for malaria. This is a substantial burden for low-income and rural households and reduces community-level consumer spending. (Ghana Malaria Elimination Investment Case, Sept. 2019). The impact of malaria goes far beyond the health sector.
It is therefore critical that we jointly take ownership of the challenges that the disease presents and align our effort and commitments to achieving the National Strategic Plan (2020-2025) and Global Technical Strategy (2030). Companies in Ghana are today being called on to leverage their resources and expertise to play their part in the mission to reach a malaria-free world within a generation.
“The private sector is stepping up and playing a central role in combatting malaria in order to ensure that zero malaria is achieved within a generation. The Ecobank Foundation is committed to using its platforms and resources to ensure greater private sector contributions through the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative” concluded Carl Manlan, Chief Operations Officer of the Ecobank Foundation.
To learn more about the National Malaria Control Programme and the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign please visit www.ghanahealthservice.org and www.zeromalaria.africa.