Mosquitoes don’t respect borders. Now, Botswana has signed on to a malaria control effort that will bolster a cross border program with seven other nations.
A key building block to ending malaria as a public health threat is elimination of local mosquito-borne malaria transmission in a defined geographical area.
The Global Fund is accelerating its efforts to eliminate the disease with a new grant in southern Africa. Called Elimination 8, the grant aims at eliminating malaria in eight countries – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Four of these countries – Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, termed “the frontline four” – are nearing elimination after achieving a 75 percent decline of the disease between 2000 and 2012.
Through the US$17.8 million Elimination 8 grant, the Global Fund aims to intensify regional efforts to counter threats to progress towards malaria elimination, especially in the border regions. The grant will support a regional malaria surveillance system and database as well as a regional laboratory to improve the region’s capacity to understand where malaria transmission is occurring and how best to contain it. The grant complements existing Global Fund grants of US$275 million invested in these eight countries to accelerate progress towards elimination of the disease.
Botswana – one of the four countries at an advanced stage of elimination – is the latest to sign an in-country grant to intensify national efforts to eliminate the disease. On 30 October, the Global Fund made its first malaria investment in the country with the signing of a grant worth US$5.1 million. Shenaaz El-Halabi, Permanent Secretary of Botswana’s Ministry of Health said the country will use the new grant to complement government efforts to eliminate the disease by 2018. “As a country we are working tirelessly towards malaria elimination and this grant comes in at an opportune time as we make history,” she said.