ADDIS ABABA– The African Union (AU) announced the launch of a new plan against malaria in the continent, which includes awareness campaigns and comprehensive anti-malaria actions.

Malaria kills approximately 435,000 people each year, mostly in Africa, while 219 million people became globally infected in 2017, according to a recent report by the World Health Organization.

‘We realized that most of those affected are in late communities to get involved in research and other health initiatives; we decided to change everything and begin to involve them soon,’ said the AU.

After published statistics that account for an increase in cases for the first time in more than one decade, the Union seeks to revive the mechanisms at the national level to reduce the impact of the disease and eventually eliminate it by 2030, as stipulated by the regional objectives.

‘Africa accounts for more than 90 percent of the global burden of malaria; with these mechanisms, we hope to revive citizen awareness movements and the contribution of all sectors, state and private, to this battle,’ the community bloc said in a statement.

Inspired by a strategy promoted by Senegal, the campaign Zero Malaria Starts with Me, will encourage society: political, business, community and religious leaders, as well as individuals, families, and communities; commitments have to come from the bottom up, the statement said.

Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Ghana, and Niger have already established high-level national councils to address the challenges in this regard.

‘Many countries in the area are implementing the Health Strategy, in accordance with principles outlined by the AU, to strengthen health systems and achieve universal coverage,’ said the commission’s chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Significant global solidarity, shared responsibility, multisectoral partnerships and the actions of the population have been key levers to change the game of addressing the three epidemic diseases (AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria), he added.

However, in his opinion, the efforts are at a crossroads and it is necessary to unlock ropes to advance steadily.

‘The greatest threat to the struggle in this field is inaction and complacency. We can be the generation that ends up with this debilitating evil,’ the senior official concluded.