Strong Health Systems and Effective Partnerships to End Malaria

Strong Health Systems and Effective Partnerships to End Malaria

 {Photo credit: Todd Shapera}Emanuel Bizimungu a community health worker in Rwanda, examines a girl, Sandrine Uwase, two and a half, who he treated for malaria. She recovered after several days. They are in Nyagakande village, near the Ruhunda health center in eastern Rwanda.Photo credit: Todd Shapera

Malaria is a complex disease – how it’s transmitted and where, who becomes sick, the numerous efforts to control and combat it and, yet, after centuries we still haven’t managed to eradicate it.

During the past five years, the global partnership to fight malaria has witnessed some success including a 29% reduction in malaria mortality and a 75% increase in use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs). Despite these successes, the global burden of disease still sits heavily at 212 million new cases and 429,000 deaths in 2015 – the majority of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly half the world’s population is at risk of contracting malaria with 70% of malaria deaths occurring in children less than five years of age, who are particularly susceptible to the disease (WHO, 2016).

On this World Malaria Day, Management Sciences for Health (MSH) continues its focus on the global partnership dedicated to promoting elimination through community efforts, and worldwide eradication of malaria. MSH’s unique skillset is bringing to this global partnership expertise and activities that focus on overall health system strengthening, and providing a holistic approach to dealing with this complicated, combined effort to eliminate and eventually eradicate malaria.

MSH has a long and respected history of strengthening health systems by building capacity in supply chain management and monitoring and evaluation as well as in assisting Ministries of Health to improve integrated health service delivery. MSH has also been the world leader in transferring leadership, management and governance skills to our health partners. This work ranges from specific and time-bound MSH-implemented projects to enabling countries to strengthen their own health systems.

Here are three effective interventions to combat malaria:

Robust supply chains

MSH helps strengthen the supply chain for malaria commodities at all levels, from global markets to private medicine vendors, to community health workers. We help global agencies, national governments, and local stakeholders make the best use of resources and adopt policies to preserve the efficacy of effective anti-malarial drugs.

Prevention and treatment at all points of care

Integrated health projects, such as the Collaborative Support for Health program in Liberia, Integrated Health Program Plus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Mikolo project in Madagascar, and the Organized Network of Services for Everyone’s Health in Malawi – all funded by USAID and led by MSH – make key malaria prevention and treatment measures available at all appropriate points of care. This strategy has helped expand access to and use of insecticide-treated nets and intermittent preventive therapy for pregnant women, and provision of malaria rapid diagnostic testing and treatment at health service delivery points, including at the community level.

Strong leadership and management of national programs

Through the Leadership, Management and Governance National Malaria Control Program Capacity Building Project (LMG/NMCP), MSH is building the capacity of National Malaria Control Programs to effectively implement national malaria strategies, including assisting them to better manage their Global Fund grants and the associated interventions as well as to better manage their human resources. Additionally, MSH projects support health workers and managers at all levels of the health system - central, provincial, district, and facility levels - to ensure availability of high quality data to guide decision-making and facilitate reporting.

These key malaria prevention and case management interventions continue to demonstrate technical excellence, and lead to the overall goal of reducing malaria morbidity and mortality.

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