Shrinking the Malaria Map

UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI)

Advocacy

Advocacy—at global, regional, and national level—has been critical to the progress in driving down malaria over the last decade. Advocacy put malaria on the map during the Millennium Development Goal era and contributed to one of the most successful resource mobilization efforts for a single disease. Today, advocacy has a similar role, not only in underscoring the links between malaria and other development priorities in the new Sustainable Development Goals, but also in mobilizing resources and creating an enabling policy environment at regional and national level, particularly as economies of malaria endemic countries grow and as national stakeholders aim to achieve and sustain malaria elimination.

Within the malaria elimination context, advocacy can generate support for ending malaria rather than controlling it by amplifying the key arguments for malaria elimination, including the strong investment case, strengthening health systems and promoting regional health security. Importantly, advocacy can help mobilize financing for malaria efforts, particularly in countries that are likely to graduate from donor funding. While overall global malaria financing has increased in recent years, the proportion of this funding for eliminating countries is declining. The consequential financing gap between donor and domestic financing could result in a costly malaria resurgence. Effective advocacy can help close the financing gap for many countries, preventing resurgence and a loss of gains that were made under previous investments.

What We Do

Setting the ‘e’ agenda: elimination & eradication

Since 2007, the MEI has led efforts to redefine the goalpost in the fight against malaria—from adequately controlling it to eliminating it. After Bill and Melinda Gates declared that eradication was possible in 2007, the MEI began highlighting the progress and challenges in malaria-eliminating countries. Through a variety of channels, the MEI has amplified country and regional experiences in malaria elimination to advocate for a more ambitious approach to the fight against the disease—to not only treat malaria but interrupt transmission. As a result of this advocacy and because progress has accelerated elimination efforts in many more countries, the malaria and global health community has now broadly accepted that malaria elimination is both a feasible and worthwhile goal. Today, the MEI believes that eradication is possible within a generation, as Bill Gates called for in 2014 and as the 2015 report Aspiration to Action: What it will take to end Malaria? proposes.

Closing the gap by mobilizing domestic financing

As malaria-eliminating countries see declines in funding from donors—either because of their low transmission or their economic status—national malaria programs are at risk of experiencing a funding gap and possibly a malaria resurgence, like those previously documented in over 60 countries. The MEI works with national malaria programs to close this funding gap by advocating for adequate and sustainable domestic financing for malaria. Using our economics, costing, and financing research, the MEI collaborates with malaria-eliminating countries to transform this evidence into strong arguments and advocacy tactics that target national and/or provincial decision-makers, the private sector, and others who can contribute to increased domestic financing.

The MEI’s Work on Advocacy for Malaria Elimination includes:

Global

  • Supporting donors, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, to make effective investments in malaria-eliminating countries and regions.
  • Providing concrete links between research, policy, and implementation by promoting evidence from cutting edge and practical research within global policy-making forums.

Regional

  • Linking high-level support generated by regional platforms such as the Asia Pacific Leaders’ Malaria Alliance and the African Leaders Malaria Alliance, to strengthened capacity at national level to deliver on advocacy outcomes, including improved policy and financing for malaria elimination.
  • Amplifying evidence for a regional approach to malaria elimination and financing.
  • Advocating for regional economic powerhouses to invest in malaria elimination as a regional public good that can strengthen regional health security and economic growth.

National

  • Collaborating with National Malaria Control Programs in malaria-eliminating countries to develop and implement a cohesive advocacy strategy for domestic financing and resource mobilization.
  • Supporting country-level efforts to adopt enabling policies for effective and efficient malaria elimination approaches, such as ensuring malaria is a notifiable disease.