By Delphine Thizy, Coordinator of the francophone working group at the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and Stakeholder Engagement Senior Adviser at Target Malaria
Twenty years ago, The Global Fund was created to fight what were then the world's deadliest infectious diseases: HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria. Since then, the partnership has invested more than US$55 billion, saving over 50 million lives and cutting the combined death rate from the three diseases by more than half in the countries where it invests. Ahead of its Seventh Replenishment cycle, The Global Fund is calling on the world to mobilize US$18 billion to save 20 million lives. Reaching this target will mean reducing malaria cases by 66% by 2026.
Photograph: The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Even before the world was shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic, progress against malaria had stalled. Although the worst-case scenario projected by the World Health Organization (WHO) was avoided, according to the 2021 World malaria report, there were still an estimated 241 million malaria cases and 627 000 malaria deaths worldwide in 2020, with over 96% of these deaths occurring in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we mobilize to ensure The Global Fund’s replenishment target is met and that we can address this challenge.
In the lead up to The Global Fund's Seventh Replenishment Conference, which will take place in New York City on September 21, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, The Global Fund, Speak Up Africa and Esprit d'Ébène, in collaboration with the municipality of Paris, and their partners, held a mobilization event in Paris. The event reunited representatives of the African diasporas, as well as representatives of civil society, community organizations, and elected officials, to talk about the burden of malaria and call on world leaders to seize this opportunity to tip the balance towards progress.
From left, Mr. Vincent Ledoux, Mr. Lamine Camara, Ms. Elise Mballa Meka, Mr. Aké Natondé, Ms. Maelle Ba at the “Lutter pour ce qui compte: Les diasporas s’engagent” mobilization event in Paris on September 13th
Discussions of the first panel focused on the burden of malaria in African communities, with specific highlights about challenges in access to health services. Hip hop artist Mokobé shared his personal experience with neurological malaria earlier this year, his coma, and how this experience made him realize how serious this disease is for millions of people. The second panel framed the replenishment in the context of the Francophone region, while the third panel provided the perspective of elected officials from local, regional and parliament level on how they can get engaged in the fight to end the disease.
Today, as the world considers how to get back on track in the fight against HIV, TB and malaria, the stakes could not be higher. Thousands of people have signed the Fight For What Counts petition calling on the world to save 20 million more lives, will you join them?