Committed to Ending Malaria: A Look Back on the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT
April 25th, 2016 | Viewpoint
April 25th, 2016 | Viewpoint
On this World Malaria Day, April 25 2016, the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT joins with partners around the world in recognizing the achievements made in combating this deadly disease, as well as the critical need to sustain and increase our efforts in the coming years. With 214 million cases in the last year, it has never been more important to continue the fight against malaria.
More than half the world is at risk of contracting malaria. In 2015, over 480,000 people died from this treatable and preventable disease. Children under the age of five, one of the most vulnerable populations, account for over 78 percent of malaria cases worldwide. Around the world, a child dies every two minutes due to malaria.
Milestones Have Been Made
In recent years, incredible progress has been made to end malaria. Since 2000, the malaria mortality rate has dropped 60 percent globally and 65 percent among children under five. Strong health supply chains are critical to this success. Many high prevalence countries have weak supply chains, which limits access to key prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services. Without a steady supply of products, strong malaria control programs would not be possible. Robust supply chains are essential in getting those products to people, where and when they are needed.
Since 2007, the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT has worked to support the global goals to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality around the world. The project has shipped malaria commodities to more than 27 countries, contributing significantly to the global decline of malaria prevalence. Over the life of the project, the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT shipped 187 million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (LLINs), 333 million rapid diagnostic malaria tests, 482 million antimalarial treatments (ACTs), and over 187 million SP tablets.
The USAID I DELIVER PROJECT – A Snapshot
Beyond procuring critical malaria prevention, diagnostic, and treatment products, the project has worked at the global and country-level to ensure these products reach the last mile. In 2007, the project supported Malawi in the launch of ACTs as its first-line antimalarial treatment, ensuring in a two-week period that every health facility in the country was fully stocked. When ACT global demand outstripped production capacity, the project worked with the World Health Organization and other key partners to monitor country-level availability and prevent stockouts.
The information systems we designed to move critical data on product use and inventory levels from community health workers and health facilities, link it with data from national warehouse networks, and provide it to program managers to use in key decisionmaking. During the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, the project continued ensuring the availability of malaria commodities at health facilities.
In 2015, faced with significant flooding that made many areas inaccessible and displaced thousands of people in Malawi, the project coordinated with the military and other government offices to deliver malaria commodities by boat, over temporary bridges and by helicopters to populations and health facilities cut off by the floodwaters.
In South Sudan, despite the ongoing conflict and civil war, the project worked with state ministries and over 25 local and global partners to continue to deliver malaria and other health commodities to those most in need. In the Upper Nile state, some women walked up to two days to deliver medicines to health facilities that vehicles could not reach.
In Nigeria the project supported states to distribute over 60 million nets throughout the country. As part of these efforts, the project ensured that men, women, and children displaced by Boko Haram could at least sleep under a bed net.
A Look Forward
It’s important to recognize that the theme of this year’s World Malaria Day is “End Malaria for Good.” Building on global achievements, the malaria community is moving beyond control to elimination. Despite encouraging progress, ending malaria requires a sustained global effort among stakeholders large and small.
With malaria elimination, it is no longer just a challenge of routinely getting products to all clinics and health workers, but it requires deploying new products to increasingly isolated pockets of infection. As the parasite becomes resistant to known malaria treatment and prevention tools, it becomes more critical than ever to develop new technologies and medicines and rapidly deploy them where they can be used.
As Malaria prevalence declines, smaller and smaller pockets of people must be treated, making rapid case identification and treatment mandatory. Supply chains must adapt to the changing profile of malaria, getting new products to a narrower segment of the population, to achieve global elimination goals. The USAID | DELIVER PROJECT is committed to building these supply chains to ending malaria.
Learn more about the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT’s work to end malaria and see the project’s malaria resources.
Written by Lisa Hare