U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative Evaluation Sees Reduction in Malaria Deaths
April 25, 2014, Bahir Dar – Today, representatives from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) participated in the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia (FMOH) World Malaria Day activities in Bahir Dar. World Malaria Day marks a date to highlight the achievements made in the fight against malaria, to advocate for sufficient resources, and to celebrate continued commitment from all partners. Each year, the FMOH brings attention to the malaria affected areas in Ethiopia and the successful interventions that have decreased the epidemic in Ethiopia over the years.
Under this year’s theme of “Invest in the Future; Defeat Malaria,” events featured a scientific forum with several presentations on the most recent malaria research, sport competitions, as well as entertainment with traditional dancing. A mobile van disseminated key malaria messages, such as the importance of using insecticide-treated bed nets, throughout the town. Following the presentations, participants visited the Andesa Kebele in the Bahir Dar Zuria Woreda (district) to observe insecticide-treated net usage and distribution in the community.
A recent PMI impact evaluation conducted in collaboration with the FMOH revealed that the scale-up of interventions, treatment of confirmed cases with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), and the strengthening of health systems are plausibly associated with at least 70 percent of the reduction seen in malaria deaths among children under five and in the suppression of malaria epidemics in Ethiopia. This has also resulted in a reduction of deaths among all age groups as compared to the baseline malaria status prior to 2005.
At the event, PMI Director Gunawardena Dissanayake stated: “The U.S. Presidential Malaria Initiative is proud to support Ethiopia in its great effort to control malaria. The government, its partners, and all the affected communities deserve congratulations for dropping the number of children under five who fall victim to a deadly mosquito bite. I am confident the progress achieved so far will move us closer to eliminating this deadly disease.”
MORE BACKGROUND ON THE PRESIDENT’S MALARIA INITIATIVE IN ETHIOPIA
Working very closely with the Government of Ethiopia’s FMOH and Regional Health Bureaus through 10 implementing partners and other donors, PMI has reached millions of people in Ethiopia and aims for 85 percent coverage of the most vulnerable groups–children under five years of age and pregnant women—with life-saving prevention and treatment measures delivered through health facilities and health posts.
Between FY 2008 and FY 2013, PMI procured a total of 10.6 million long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs), which were distributed to malaria-risk communities primarily through the health extension workers. In addition, PMI has procured and distributed 8.9 million doses of ACT and 3.2 million malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). PMI support for indoor residual spraying (IRS) in approximately 550,000 structures protects 1.5 million Ethiopians from malaria each year. PMI has also supported FMOH in training 1,782 laboratory technicians and 15,000 health extension workers on malaria diagnosis and case management.
PMI activities have helped to monitor the quality of antimalarial medicines and accurately quantify requirements for malaria commodities, as well as improve pharmaceutical and supply chain practices that maintain regular supplies of quality medicines and diagnostic technologies. Other activities have helped to improve malaria outbreak detection, response, and preparedness, and monitor coverage of LLINs, IRS, and the continued therapeutic effectiveness of recommended antimalarial medicines.
The goal of PMI is to reduce malaria-related mortality by 70 percent in over 15 countries by the end of 2015. Ethiopia was selected as one of the 15 PMI countries in 2007 because of high malaria burdens. The U.S. Government has invested more than $163 million US dollars to date in malaria control efforts in Ethiopia over the last six years, not including other substantial USG contributions to the Global Fund for AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Global Health Initiative.