Malaria: Global Funding, Not Just the Global Fund

The Global Fund sixth Replenishment Conference will take place in October 2019 to raise new funds and mobilize partners toward ending AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030 in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals. The target is to raise at least US$14 billion “to help save 16 million lives, avert 234 million infections and help the world get back on track to end these diseases.”

It is not exactly clear how much of this US$14 billion would be pegged for malaria, especially since there are cross-cutting health systems strengthening components to many grants. That said, the total seems to pale in light of the 2018 World Malaria Report estimated investment needs of US$6.6 billion alone for malaria from 2020 onward.

Of course the Global Fund is calling on the private sector to “mobilize at least US$1 billion to step up the fight.” It is not clear whether this should be included in the US14 billion or in addition.

The RBM Partnership notes that “Accounting for more than half of all external resources and 44% of total malaria funds available, the Global Fund represents the leading source of funding for malaria prevention and treatment.” Such non-Global Fund external resources have come from partners like the World Bank, the US President’s Malaria Initiative, DfID and a host of other bilateral, NGO and corporate sources. The implication is that at most 15-20% of current financial investment in malaria has been borne endemic countries.

RBM also highlights that at the recent African Union meeting, “African Heads of State and Government adopted the 2018 African Union Malaria Progress Report which was prepared by malaria experts from countries in Africa…” This means that the leaders acknowledged that malaria investments and significant achievements already made “are under threat and accelerated action is needed now to get countries back on track.” This led the current chair of the Africa Malaria Leaders Alliance, His Majesty King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini, to say, “It will take significant resources to achieve malaria elimination.  Now, more than ever, we must boost our domestic resources from both the public and private sectors.”

Analysis in the ALMA Scorecard shows in the fourth quarter of 2018 most countries have acquired the needed funds to finance malaria commodities. The analysis does not point out the source of these funds. The 2030 target is only 11 years away. Serious national planning, political will and advocacy are needed not only to prevent resurgence of malaria to pre-RBM days, but also to reduce and eliminate a disease responsible for so much economic loss and loss of life.

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