Hon. Minister of Health of Zambia Dr Chitalu Chilufya and his E8 delegation met with SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax in Gaborone, Botswana, on the 28th October 2019.
Elimination 8 was established in 2009, through a decision of the SADC Ministers of health that approved that the Eight (8) Ministers of Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe function as a Sub-Committee on Malaria Elimination, in order to oversee both the Elimination and Control Agenda in the SADC Region. The Ministers approved the E8 initiatives to be implemented in a phased approach, beginning in the southern part of the region, and moving towards the northern parts, with the ultimate goal of covering the entire region.
Hon. Dr Chilufya explained that malaria remained a health challenge, with negative effects in the socio-economic development of the region, hence, the aim to eliminate it completely not only within the 8 member countries, but the entire SADC region. He stated that malaria is preventable and treatable, emphasising that its elimination will reduce the burden in the health systems of the region. He also highlighted that E8 has over the years, managed to reduce malaria induced mortality rate and further re-affirmed E8 commitment in the fight against malaria. He further indicated that, for malaria to be eliminated, there is need for cross-border diplomacy amongst countries in the region, as mosquitos know no boundaries. "Cross-border engagement, strong data systems for information collection and sharing and integrated malaria elimination strategy are some of the key elements necessary to eradicate malaria, '' said the Minister.
Dr Tax welcomed Honourable Dr Chilufya and his delegation and thanked them for sharing information on E8 initiatives towards malaria elimination. She agreed that malaria is not only a concern in the 8 member countries, but in the SADC region as a whole, and that elimination of malaria is one of SADC priorities, as evidenced by the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on Eliminating Malaria in the SADC region. To this end, Dr Tax emphasised the need for the two organisations to strengthen their cooperation, through concrete joint actions.
The two Parties agreed that based on the SADC Maria Elimination Framework, technical teams of the two Secretariats should meet to define areas of collaboration, and prepare an Action Plan.
The Executive Secretary was accompanied by Ms. Duduzile Simelane, Director of Social and Human Development. Hon. Dr Chilufya was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare in Namibia, Hon. Ms. Juliet V. Kavituma, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health in Botswana, Ms. Ruth Maphorisa, E8 Ambassador, Dr Kwami, E8 Secretariat Executive Director, Dr John M. Chimumbwa, E8 Board Chair Secretariat, Advocate Phatela, National Malaria Country Program Manager in Zambia, Dr Yeta, and E8 Advocacy and Partnerships, Ms Kelly Sibisibi.