malaria net Louise Gubb/Getty Images

Uniting Against Malaria

Building a prosperous African economy that works for all will be impossible, unless the continent eradicates the diseases that continue to deplete its communities of their most valuable resource: healthy people. One such disease is malaria, which in many African countries knocks a percentage point off annual economic growth.

LOMÉ/GABORONE – As African women leading influential and impact-driven organizations – the Ecobank Foundation and the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) – we are passionate about building a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable African economy. But achieving that goal requires accelerating progress toward eradicating the diseases that continue to deplete our communities of their most valuable resource: healthy people. One such disease is malaria.

To be sure, Africa has lately made significant progress in combating malaria. From 2010 to 2015, as part of the global Millennium Development Goals, the continent reduced the malaria incidence rate (the number of new infections) by 21% and malaria deaths by 31%.

But malaria remains a serious threat to the wellbeing of millions of Africans. In 2015, an estimated 212 million people contracted malaria worldwide, with 47% of cases concentrated in just six African countries. An estimated 429,000 people – mostly children under five years of age – died from malaria that year, with 92% of those deaths occurring in Africa and 40% occurring in just two countries, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. There is, therefore, an urgent need to accelerate progress – and end malaria for good.

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