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Novartis, malaria experts to discuss innovative solutions to eliminate disease

Today, June 10, marks the first day of the 14th annual National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) Best Practice Sharing Workshop in Africa. With growing t...

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|Jun 10|magazine9 min read

Today, June 10, marks the first day of the 14th annual National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) Best Practice Sharing Workshop in Africa.

With growing threats including inadequate funding, first signs of drug resistance and the advance of diseases such as Ebola, Africa is at a crossroad in the fight against malaria. The NMCP meeting will provide the opportunity for malaria experts from over 35 countries in Africa to discuss the need for new innovative tools and strategies to achieve malaria elimination.

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“This discussion could not have come at a better time since we in the Southern African Development Community region are already advanced in the elimination program having earmarked eight countries in this region as pilots for the elimination campaign,” said Hon. Dr. Nazira Abdula, Minister for Health, Mozambique, in an issued press release.

Convened by Novartis and supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Malaria Consortium, the three-day event will focus on the new WHO “Global Technical Strategy and Targets for Malaria 2016-2030.”

The NMCP heads will discuss the advances in technology made to date and how these tools can be implemented and improved to achieve the new WHO objective of 90 percent reduction in malaria cases and mortality rates by 2030.

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“Novartis is proud to provide this unique platform,” said Dr. Linus Igwemezie, Head of the Novartis Malaria Initiative. “These meetings have been designed for NMCP members by NCMP members, to develop new ideas and strategies to achieve elimination of this deadly disease.”

Dr. Simon Kunene, NMCP Head Swaziland, added, “These NMCP meetings are important platforms to share best practice across the continent and drive progress. Kenya for example has made significant improvements in the quality of malaria case management since the implementation of the new policy that requires diagnostic testing prior to treatment. The same applies to the entire Southern African Development Community which has tremendously improved case management after harmonizing treatment protocols in the region. In my own country Swaziland, we have made great progress towards malaria elimination through improved disease surveillance, a critical area since it helps program managers focus their resources.”

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Malaria mortality rates have fallen by 47 percent globally since 2001, according to the World Health Organization, and have helped the malaria community gain growing momentum to realize that elimination is possible. 

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