"la Caixa" Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have launched a joint project aimed at eliminating malaria from southern Mozambique by 2020. The new project, "la Caixa" Against Malaria", will be implemented by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in cooperation with ISGlobal's partner in Mozambique, the Manhiça Health Research Centre (CISM). The initiative is backed by the experience of 20 years of cooperation between Spain and Mozambique, made possible thanks to funding by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). The goal is to support the elimination of malaria in southern Mozambique which will strengthen regional efforts to eliminate malaria in eight countries of southern Africa.
"Over the last decade we have seen significant progress in the fight against malaria", said Pedro Alonso, director of ISGlobal, who went on to point out that: "the next frontier must be to make this parasite disappear completely, and this is precisely the goal that this project seeks to achieve".
The eradication of malaria is a long-term goal that has been reflected in the Roll Back Malaria Partnership's Global Malaria Action Plan since 2008. Even greater importance will be attached to this goal in the Global Technical Strategy (GTS), which the WHO plans to launch in 2015. The GTS was developed based on the existing consensus that complete elimination is the only sustainable solution to malaria in the long run, and is an indispensable prerequisite for the full development of countries in which the disease is endemic.
Mozambique is currently one of the ten countries with the highest malaria burden in the world, with an estimated seven million cases per year and 40,000 deaths related to the disease. "la Caixa" Against Malaria will bring to bear a comprehensive and collaborative approach to eliminating malaria in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, generating knowledge that will then be translated into actions and policies on the ground.
Over the last few months, in preparation for the launch of this project, both ISGlobal and the CISM have played a major role in coordinating all the stakeholders in the fight against malaria in Mozambique through MALTEM, the Mozambican Alliance Towards the Elimination of Malaria. Under the leadership of the Mozambique Health Ministry, MALTEM will seek to ensure that all future efforts are aimed at the common goal of elimination.