The Program on Climate Change and Mitigation in the COMESA-EAC-SADC region recently held a meeting with its Development Partners, to present and discuss the 2013 progress report and expenditure as well as the proposed 2014 work plan and budget among other issues.
The meeting which was hosted by the SADC Programme Management Unit (PMU) was held in Pretoria, South Africa on February 5, 2014 and attended by PMUs from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and East African Community (EAC) as well as representatives of The Department for International Development (DFID), Norway and European Union (EU).
Officially opening the meeting, the Tripartite Programme Co-ordinator/COMESA Climate Change Advisor, Dr Mclay Kanyangarara highlighted the critical importance of the program which is structured to spearhead regional integration and greater coordination of efforts to reduce trans-boundary challenges faced by people of the region.
The Development Partners concurred with Dr Kanyangarara on the importance of the program as a way for enhanced political and socio-economic north – south ties and collaboration towards sustainable development with mutual benefits.
The Development Partners adopted the 2013 progress and expenditure reports whilst highlighting the need to expedite project implementation over 2014, as the program was coming to a close in 2016.
The meeting agreed on strategies that should be employed to enhance program delivery. These strategies included bringing the new SADC and EAC PMUs up to speed by COMESA, engaging and effectively managing consultants, revision of the Log frame, the development of a grants management manual, Improved communication between the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), exchange of ideas and reporting among RECs and DPs, the use of an online reporting system among others.
Speaking at the same meeting, DFID indicated that it will be increasing its support to the Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (RVAA), by 2.5 Million Pounds, courtesy of the Swiss Government.
Five SADC countries namely: South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique received the 2013 African Leaders Malaria Alliance Award (ALMA) Award during African Union Summit held in Addis-Ababa in January 2013.
This big success is the expression of the commitment of SADC Member States to eliminate Malaria in at least 6 countries by 2015 and is a result of the harmonization of some malaria interventions such as the use of DDT for vector control in the region, the use of bed nets and the improvement of the malaria case management in terms diagnostic and treatment. Few initiatives have been developed by SADC in order to bring together SADC Member States for the best control of Malaria in the region. Among others, the SADC Malaria Strategic Framework, the SADC Malaria Elimination Framework, the SADC Malaria Advocacy and Communication Strategy, SADC Malaria Minimum Standards for Prevention, Treatment and Management of Malaria.
In addition, SADC is actually implementing the Elimination 8(E8) which is an initiative for Malaria Elimination in 8 Member States comprising four front line countries: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland and four second line countries: Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The incidence of Malaria in the four first line countries of elimination is almost less than 1 case par 1000 people per year.
Another fact which pushed this success is the Malaria Cross Border Collaboration between Member States as emphasized by the President Jocob Zuma in his speech, particularly the Lubombo one, which is a collaboration between Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland.
In order to keep this advantage, there is a need for the SADC region to strengthen the other cross border malaria initiatives in the area of E8 such as the trans Kunene (Collaboration between Angola and Namibia), the trans Zambezi(Collaboration between Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and the MOZIZA(Collaboration between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe); to find a way for the local production of malaria commodities and DDT and to come up with an innovative financing system for the sustainability of the Malaria Programme taking into account the multisectoral aspect of the disease.
African Heads of State and government committed to increase their domestic contributions to public health including malaria control. This includes raising new revenues through innovative financing mechanisms, including introducing levies on financial transactions and airline tickets.
To address the malaria emergency threatening Africa, ALMA leaders will work with donors and development partners to explore emergency financing mechanisms that can bridge the financing gap, including the Global Fund, the World Bank, BRICS, United States, United Kingdom, UNITAID, African Development Bank, private sector, foundations, and others. Ministers of Finance will convene a meeting alongside the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Spring Meetings in April 2013 to discuss mechanisms to fill outstanding gaps.
Mozambique is one of the 7 countries who received the 2013 ALMA Award for Excellence in Policy to have removed tariffs on antimalarial commodities, banned oral artemisinin-based mono-therapies, and introduced community case management of malaria. While Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia received the 2013 ALMA Award for Excellence in Impact and Implementation because they reduced malaria incidence by over 75% and increased coverage of at-risk populations with mosquito nets and/or Indoor Residual Spraying.
The award was given by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and presented by immediate past chairperson Yayi Boni who is President of Benin during the closing ceremony of the AU 20th Ordinary Session summit
ALMA is a malaria project under the UN which helps African countries to combat malaria as one of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) whose target is set to be achieved by 2015.