Fighting a Serious Killer Across Borders

By Ministers of Health of Zambia and Zimbabwe Hon. Dr. Joseph Kasonde and Hon. Dr. Henry Madzorera 29 April 2013

Diseases do not recognize borders. Mosquitos that transmit malaria do not either.

Southern Africa’s climate and geography have all the characteristics to breed the deadliest form of malaria: several rivers cross the region, and seasonal flooding can result in prolonged malaria seasons. We have to work together to fight malaria.

Today, on World Malaria Day, our countries are coming together to announce a regional initiative that aims to eliminate malaria in the Zambezi valley, an area we find critical to regional development.

This cross-border initiative, once fully operational, should act as an accelerator of the transition from malaria control to malaria elimination in the Zambezi Valley, thereby paving way for poverty alleviation, and social and economic prosperity in the region.

We are launching the initiative with an event at the Victoria Falls, one of the wonders of the World and main touristic attraction. It is a site that serves as an example of how important it is to reduce malaria in the region to further economic development.

In the context of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Malaria Elimination Framework and leveraging off existing grants from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, we kicked off this cross-border collaboration to further support malaria interventions: distribution of insecticide-treated nets to protect families from malaria, treatment to those in need, and vector control through indoor-residual spraying.

We are able to do this because for many years now, our ministries and many partners have come together to participate in the response: national leadership, international organizations, bilateral funders, civil society organizations and many others.

We are pleased to be able to count on many partners that support this initiative. We are grateful that the Global Fund is able to support our work, and will be using our initiative as an example to replicate it in other countries if successful.

The investments that the world makes to the Global Fund are going to allow us to continue to implement high-impact interventions, and we trust that the continuous engagement of all partners, particularly our two countries, will allow us to sustain our gains.