By Christopher Lourenço, Malaria Deputy Director, PSI and Malia Skjefte, Malaria Technical Advisor, PSI
April 25th marks this year’s World Malaria Day – an occasion that celebrates achievements and progress in malaria prevention and elimination efforts, while reinforcing the need for continued commitment from global stakeholders. The RBM Partnership to End Malaria highlights the urgency for action and further investment to deliver the maximum impact against malaria, due to the growing gap between the amount invested in the global malaria response (US $3.5 billion) and the resources needed (US $7.3 billion) (World Malaria Report 2022). This year’s theme, “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement” encompasses the need to invest in malaria programs, innovate to deliver transformative and improved malaria solutions, and implement national strategies to accelerate progress against malaria.
Here are a few examples of how PSI’s work aligns with this year’s theme:
Investing and Innovating in Health System Strengthening (HSS)
PSI views our malaria work as an important foundation to overall health system investment – that is, to permanently enable health systems to provide quality healthcare to those that need it most by strengthening public, private, and community networks at each level of the health system. Our health system strengthening approach to malaria control and elimination focusses on improving the reach of high-quality malaria prevention and care by using data more innovatively, increasing the coverage and use of core health interventions through strengthened community systems, and finally, adopting integrated, systems-based approaches to bolster health security. In the brief you will find PSI’s strategic entry points to eliminating malaria and building resilient health systems across Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, with case studies that describe the approaches and progress of our current interventions.
Implementing Malaria Solutions at Scale
While countries and partners are encouraged to deliver World Health Organization (WHO)recommended tools and strategies, implementation challenges still prevent new interventions from reaching the most vulnerable. Funded by Unitaid, PSI’s Plus Project is working with national governments and other stakeholders to co-design, implement, and evaluate Perennial Malaria Chemoprevention (PMC) measures using sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in Benin, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Mozambique. This project follows the 2022 WHO recommendation for PMC, which states that children belonging to age groups at high risk of severe malaria can be given antimalarial medicines at predefined intervals to reduce disease burden in areas of moderate to high perennial malaria transmission.
The Plus Project will share learnings from implementation experience and research evidence to help countries decide if and how to use PMC as part of their malaria chemoprevention strategies. Overall, the project will increase access to high-quality PMC among children under two in each project country and generate evidence to catalyze sustained uptake of PMC in the project countries and other malaria endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Committing to Deliver Zero Malaria
Committed to consumer-powered health care, PSI strives to make it easier for people affected by malaria around the world to seek and receive quality malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services. In cooperation with governments and stakeholders, and with support from President’s Malaria Initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Unitaid, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and others, PSI will continue to support malaria programs, increase investments, adopt smart innovations, and implement quality, well-targeted, and sustainable malaria interventions. PSI works with governments and key stakeholders to move beyond access to malaria interventions to proactively reach all populations in need with equitable and expansive healthcare services.
For more on PSI’s malaria approach as an entry point to HSS, view our latest brief: Strengthening Health Systems Through Effective, Innovative Malaria Control and Elimination.