(15 May 2015, Geneva) The 28th RBM Board meeting, held on the eve of the World Health Assembly, celebrated the remarkable gains made in the fight against one of the world’s oldest and deadliest diseases since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Most notably, the Board noted that:
- Annual malaria deaths have decreased by 47 % in all age groups, and by 53% in children under 5 years of age. This equates to an estimated 4.3 million malaria deaths averted.
The Board, which represents a broad partnership of malaria-affected countries, donors, multilateral institutions, NGOs, private sector, research and academia, and ex-officio members, also noted that these dramatic decreases have had a substantial positive socioeconomic impact in terms of increased productivity, improved school attendance and reduced strain on health systems throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. However, being barely half way to the global goal of a malaria-free world, the Board also acknowledged that the risk of losing these extraordinary gains is high.
In recognition of the transition to the broader-reaching Sustainable Development Goals, changes have been proposed across the RBM Partnership architecture to capitalize on the gains made to date and enable the Partnership to be responsive to the new global directions for development. These changes were agreed upon by the Board, and include:
-- A country-led consultation process to determine the role and structure of the RBM Partnership’s regional engagement mechanisms, specifically tailored to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
-- Establishment of a Trustees’ Council [working title] composed of senior global leaders and focused primarily on the financing and advocacy elements of malaria control and elimination, as well as offering advice to the Executive Board on the strategic direction of the Partnership.
-- A streamlined Executive Board that reflects the diversity of the Partnership.
-- A strengthened and adapted RBM Secretariat, led by an Executive Director, to deliver the core functions of RBM and support the evolving Partnerships mechanisms.
-- Establishment of a set of Partner committees, focused on carrying out the core functions of the RBM Partnership such as country support and financing, advocacy, and resource mobilization.
The Board also endorsed a new framework guiding Action and Investment to Defeat Malaria (AIM) 2016–2030, which provides clear arguments for investing in malaria control and elimination over the next 15 years – as a complement to the new WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria (GTS) – adhering to the same goals and targets and providing an estimate of the financial resources required to reach between 40% and 90% additional reductions in malaria cases and deaths over this period.
Noting that continued progress in the fight against malaria is central to the attainment of the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the RBM Board has committed to implementing the AIM through development of a workplan that reaches beyond the traditional health sector to include environment, climate change, housing, sanitation, agriculture, education, and other sectors invested in the fight against poverty.
The RBM Board concluded with substantial optimism that with the continued commitment of the global community through the SDGs, the Financing for Development, G7 and G20 mechanisms, and under the guidance of the GTS and AIM, the gains made in malaria can be sustained and accelerated through 2030, thereby sustaining the health and productivity of some 3.2 billion people vulnerable to malaria per year.