By Mary Nnah
The Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) has announced the launch of its strategic plan for 2021-2023, which sets out the blueprint for action for the next three years.
Through private sector initiatives, the alliance aims to reach millions of people with malaria control interventions to improve awareness and scale up prevention activities.
The plan was launched at CAMA’s 2020 Partners Meeting, which took place virtually on November 24, 2020.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic places an extra burden on health systems worldwide. Many countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, are now facing a double challenge of protecting their citizens against existing threats to public health, like malaria, and emerging ones, like COVID-19.
The malaria situation in Africa was critical before the emergence of COVID-19, which now threatens to derail years of progress in the fight against malaria.
In 2018, the WHO African Region accounted for 94 per cent of all malaria deaths and 93 per cent (213 million) of global malaria cases.
From its inception, CAMA has been a trusted platform for knowledge sharing and networking, with an initial focus on workplace programs and corporate-led community malaria programs.
Over the past decade, CAMA has evolved to an Alliance with broad sector representation, beyond the extractives industry, to include commodity manufacturers, construction firms, beverage firms and financial services firms. Today it also facilitates private sector engagement in the development of national malaria responses as well as region-wide initiatives.
Team Lead, Global Public Health & Special Projects, Chevron Corporation, and Co-Chair, CAMA, Michael Steinberg, said, “We benefit from healthier communities, as they’re interlinked with our business outcomes, with economies, and with improving local capacities.
“CAMA’s work also contributes to improved systems, partnerships and learnings that benefit local capacities well beyond [malaria], and really supports global health security.”
Key outcomes of the strategic plan include expanded private sector engagement and investment in malaria programming, reaching at least five million people directly with malaria commodities and 100 million people with prevention and control messages through strengthened public-private partnerships, and more.
Head, Sustainability, Access Bank, and Co-Chair, CAMA, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan said, “There’s still so much we can do together to advance our objective as a responsible coalition and as responsible businesses in the face of global health challenges
“I assure you of our continued commitment to foster collaborative efforts in the fight against malaria.”
Key elements of the strategic plan include expanding work in high burden countries to rapidly reduce malaria cases and deaths through improved private sector engagement; providing support to businesses to develop and scale up workplace as well as community-based initiatives which will enhance malaria control and elimination efforts in-country; helping to guide regional and national policies and strategies to enhance control and accelerate elimination of malaria; continuing to serve as a neutral forum and platform to share information, best practices and enhance member understanding and program visibility; and fostering multi-sector coordination and partnerships with key stakeholders and influencers in the health community to scale up malaria control and elimination efforts in country.
The End Malaria Project will be a major initiative under the new strategic plan. It will be launched as a pilot program in Nigeria and expand to other high-burden countries in Africa.
The project will galvanise private sector resources and capabilities towards reducing the incidence and prevalence of malaria in the most endemic communities in Nigeria by 2023 – a step towards complementing the government’s efforts in achieving a malaria-free Nigeria.
“This meeting has come at the right time; the Nigeria National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) is just about to launch the new strategic plan which will run from 2021-2025,” said Dr. Audu Bala Mohammed, Coordinator, NMEP.
“We have seen how the private sector has made a big difference when the COVID-19 pandemic began… We’re sure that this partnership and collaboration will go a long way for Nigeria to address the issue of malaria”, he added.
“Over the years we’ve realised that private sector engagement is very effective when we adopt the right strategies, and so we are going to intensify these efforts in our next strategic plan,” said Eunice Mintah Agyemang, BCC Specialist, National Malaria Control Programme, representing Dr. Keziah Malm, National Coordinator, National Malaria Control Programme, Ghana.
“We have launched a committee which is looking into advocacy strategies to engage private sector and other public sector institutions that will be relevant to improving our strategies and achieving malaria elimination.”
“The powerful link between health and business is abundantly clear today,” said Nancy Wildfeir-Field, President, GBCHealth. “More than ever, the private sector has a vital role to play in mobilising innovation and resources, and to strengthen our collective efforts to eliminate malaria. We need to think about innovation in product, in supply chains and delivery and in how we partner with each other.
“We are thrilled to launch CAMA’s strategic plan in partnership with our members. It sets out a vision and the way forward for the Alliance over the next three years,” said Ochuko Keyamo-Onyige, Country Manager, Nigeria, GBCHealth.
“Our 14-year history in Africa has an impressive legacy. This plan will continue to build on our remarkable achievements and help to achieve stronger representation, better collaboration across sectors, growth, sustainability and most importantly help to accelerate our impact on malaria control and elimination efforts in Africa.”
CAMA is a GBCHealth-led initiative to drive partnerships for malaria control and elimination. The Alliance is a unique coalition of companies from various industries, all with business interests in Africa. CAMA channels the collective force and voice of the private sector to drive impact on malaria in Africa from workplaces to region-wide initiatives.
CAMA is a platform for corporations working in Africa to share best practices, create new partnerships and gain visibility for malaria control efforts across the continent. CAMA companies both lead and support innovative malaria prevention, control and treatment activities and collectively deploy millions of dollars to programs that serve the needs of malaria-affected people and communities.
CAMA also provides a forum for business to engage with and build relations with malaria-focused government and civil society stakeholders. CAMA is a membership-based Alliance.