Geneva – On World Malaria Day (25/04), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and other global partners are promoting efforts to tackle malaria, one of the oldest, yet most pervasive public health threats of our time. In 2016, there were over 216 million cases of malaria globally, 445,000 malaria related deaths, and USD 2.7 billion invested in prevention, treatment and elimination of the disease. Africa contributes to nearly 90 per cent of the global burden of malaria.
“In the world today, an unprecedented number of people are on the move and migration can pose challenges to malaria control and elimination. However, we have the tools to beat malaria – and we will – with the partnership and action called for at the January meeting of African and world leaders in Addis Ababa,” said Jacqueline Weekers, IOM’s Director of Migration Health.
Movement of individuals from higher to lower prevalence settings, or malaria free areas, impact control efforts. Limited access to malaria prevention, including health education, and treatment before, during and after the migration process render migrants more vulnerable and impact progress to control, eliminate and eventually eradicate the disease.
This year’s ‘Ready to Beat Malaria” theme highlights the reality that stakeholders have the tools to eliminate the deadly disease, but measurable gains made in previous years must be sustained. In January 2018, world leaders met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and emphasized a renewed commitment to a malaria-free Africa by 2030, following the release of the World Malaria Report (2017) by the World Health Organization (WHO), which indicated that trends in combatting the deadly disease have stagnated for the first time in a decade. The Report emphasizes the need for continual investment and partnership, utilizing evidence based strategies for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
IOM supports member states to implement migrant-inclusive policies to ensure the targets are met for the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. This is enacted through support to national disease programmes and governments in executing high impact and sustainable programmes. Strengthening community responses that address the determinant’s of migrants’ health to building sustainable and population mobility sensitive health systems are key to addressing the pervasive challenges of malaria control.
IOM currently supports malaria programming across dozens of countries globally, often with the support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In Yemen, Thailand and Somalia, IOM has implemented multi-pronged evidence based public health strategies including interventions around vector control, distribution of long lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLIN) and behavior change communication campaigns to raise awareness around prevention and encourage treatment seeking, including drug compliance.
Read stories about IOM’s work with malaria-affected migrant communities here.