Tackling malaria and achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) are mutually reinforcing goals. Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation launched its annual World Malaria Report, providing a comprehensive overview of the prevalence of malaria worldwide. The report revealed that, despite significant declines since 2000, the rate of progress in tackling malaria globally has plateaued for a third year running.
Pregnant women and children in Africa continue to bear the brunt of this epidemic, with children under the age of five accounting for two thirds of global malaria deaths in 2018. As a result, global targets are at risk of being missed and the report highlights the need for accelerated action across all malaria endemic countries. This same month, the global health community came together to mark World UHC Day, reaffirming the ambition that every person—no matter who they are or where they live—should be able to access the quality health services they need without facing financial hardship. The timeliness of these two milestones serves as a reminder to us all of the importance of sharing learnings across the health sector to help build on progress made to date.
In 2015, Comic Relief and GSK announced the Fighting Malaria, Improving Health partnership to fight malaria and improve health of people living in Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and the Greater Mekong region. We believe that strengthening local and national health services is one of the most effective ways to combat malaria and offers the added benefit of increasing the overall resilience of the health system – which is also key step on the path to UHC. Once malaria's spread is controlled, it’s devastating impact will be diminished. This, in turn, can lead to better overall health for people living in poverty and whole communities will have the chance to thrive.
By tackling malaria through health systems strengthening, the Fighting Malaria, Improving Health partnership is helping to drive progress towards achieving UHC and the wider agenda of the Global Goals. This level of ambition demands that organisations come together and work in partnership. In this spirit, Comic Relief and GSK are working together in new and innovative ways to tackle malaria and strengthen local and national health systems, while also contributing to driving progress towards UHC. A report(opens in new window) launched by Comic Relief and GSK on World UHC Day, outlines how Fighting Malaria, Improving Health aligns to the below key principles of the UHC agenda:
Ensuring no one is left behind.
Upholding quality health care through a strengthened workforce.
Building better surveillance and information systems
Political leadership within and beyond health; and
Working in partnership and moving together.