Sierra Leone and Ghana declare ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ this World Malaria Day

Children hold a sign at the launch of Zero Malaria

On World Malaria Day, we are proud to announce that Comic Relief and GSK are supporting the roll-out of the Zero Malaria Starts With Me campaign in two new countries – Ghana and Sierra Leone.

Both countries will be supported in their efforts to step up the fight against the disease; by advocacy action tank Speak Up Africa, which is partnering with Comic Relief, GSK and the RBM Partnership to end malaria.

Today, malaria impacts Africa more than anywhere else in the world with ten of the 11 highest malaria burdened-countries located on the continent. Ghana is the seventh highest malaria burdened country in the world, recording more than seven million cases in 2017 according to the last WHO World Malaria Report. Sierra Leone recorded three million in the same year and cases in both countries are on the rise.

The campaign will help to protect more people from the deadly disease, with both Ghana and Sierra Leone reigniting a national, society-wide movement towards malaria elimination, promoting private sector and community engagement strategies, tailored to meet the challenges each country faces.

Sierra Leone will increase engagement of key local leaders, including religious leaders across the country. The country’s national malaria control program will also promote community engagement through activities to raise awareness of malaria prevention tools, such as bed nets.

Ghana will launch new initiatives to engage parliamentarians through workshops and visits and ensure efficient use of local domestic funding. Showcasing how private sector investment in malaria control can improve cost effectiveness for companies will also be leveraged to engage private sector engagement. 

Liz Warner, CEO of Comic Relief, says: “Comic Relief is proud and excited to be supporting Zero Malaria Starts with Me.  It is bold in its ambition and will require massive commitment and dedication from us all. Working with our project partners across Africa and with African leaders, we support this hugely positive initiative.”

Yacine Djibo, Founder and Executive Director, Speak Up Africa says: “After launching the original Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign five years ago we are excited to see it being brought to global attention and look forward to working closely with leaders in Ghana and Sierra Leone to build the campaign in their countries. With the support of country leaders, policymakers, academics and local communities across the continent we can achieve zero malaria in our lifetime.” 

‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ is the official global theme for World Malaria Day 2019, designed to remind people across the world that they have the power and personal responsibility to take actions that will protect families and communities from malaria and the importance of holding governments to account.

This year’s World Malaria Day is crucial, taking place ahead of the Sixth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in October, which seeks commitments totalling at least US$14 billion. The Global Fund is the leading international source of global malaria funding, accounting for almost 60% of funds available to target the disease and 44% of all resources for malaria.