Roundup: Scientists call for more community engagement to defeat malaria

KIGALI, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Scientists and policymakers from across the globe Monday called for more community engagement and institutional partnerships to defeat malaria on the continent during the ongoing 8th Pan-African Malaria Conference in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

The conference, organized by the Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Society, in partnership with the Rwandan Ministry of Health, brought together global experts, researchers, policymakers, and innovators.

The event kicked off Sunday and will run through Saturday, with about 1,500 participants discussing how to eliminate malaria from the African continent.

Michael Adekunle Charles, chief executive officer of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership to End Malaria, said that for significant progress to be made in the fight against malaria, the community needs to reflect on what is working and what is not.

"Defeating malaria begins in our communities. Let's prioritize gender integration, consider environmental factors, and foster partnerships across institutions," he said, calling for political commitment and leadership at all levels to end malaria.

The conference, themed "Grassroots Mobilization to End Malaria: Invest, Innovate & Integrate," provides a platform for collaboration and exchange of perspectives on community-driven efforts, cutting-edge research, challenges, and progress in malaria control across Africa.

Rwandan Minister of Health Sabin Nsanzimana said Rwanda is proud to be one of the few countries on track to meet the Global Technical Strategy (GTS) for Malaria, which aims to reduce malaria case incidence by 75 percent by 2025.

Rose Leke, chairperson of MIM Society, said the gathering offered a pivotal moment for the global society to renew commitments toward the fight against malaria and for grassroots leaders to share and learn from each other, thus strengthening the global fight against the disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized Rwanda's progress in its World Malaria Report 2023, placing the country among the top five African nations on track to achieve the GTS target for 2025.

Claude Muvunyi, director general of the Rwanda Biomedical Center, said Rwanda's remarkable progress in the fight against malaria is attributable to the proactive adoption of innovative strategies deeply rooted in local initiatives.

Globally, in 2022, there were an estimated 249 million malaria cases and 608,000 malaria deaths in 85 countries, according to the WHO. Africa was home to 94 percent of malaria cases and 95 percent of malaria deaths, while children under five accounted for about 80 percent of all malaria deaths in the region.

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