Following the successful completion of two previous grants, the governments of Mozambique, South Africa, and Eswatini, in collaboration with The Global Fund, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Goodbye Malaria, have launched the third MOSASWA regional grant. MOSASWA is a trilateral agreement between the governments of Mozambique, South Africa, and Eswatini to collaborate across borders in order to accelerate malaria elimination in the South East African region.
The new grant, worth $24 million, is valid from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2025. During this time, a primary focus will be on assisting South Africa and Eswatini in their efforts to eliminate malaria. While districts in southern Mozambique will begin to enter sub-national malaria elimination, morbidity and cases will continue to fall in all three provinces of operation, namely Gaza, Inhambane, and Maputo.
Since 2017, the grant has grown annually, from protecting one million citizens in 2017 to more than three million in 2022. During the COVID pandemic, this trend continued. Since 2017, there has been a 63% decrease in malaria morbidity and a 53% decrease in malaria cases in Maputo province. This significant decrease in cases ensures that cross-border malaria transmission in the region is reduced.
The three countries’ partnership has demonstrated continued collaboration in working across borders, aligning policies and programs to ensure a regionally coordinated effort. This collaboration is critical if South Africa and Eswatini are to eliminate malaria within the next five years.
Despite having a high disease burden, accounting for 4.1% of malaria cases globally according to the WHO World Malaria Report 2022, progress in Southern Mozambique is being made toward malaria elimination, which is critical to the country’s overall fight against malaria. With the success seen in the three provinces of Maputo, Gaza, and Inhamabane, the program has the potential to be implemented nationally.
Mr. His Excellency Mozambique’s Minister of Health, Armindo Tiago, stated, “I’d like to express our appreciation for the Global Fund’s and partners’ efforts in the fight against malaria through this program that brings together the three countries. We couldn’t have gotten this far on our own.”
The Mozambican Minister of Health also stated that the launch of the third grant to combat malaria comes at a time when the country is developing a new strategy to combat the disease, so this initiative represents a win for the department.
The new grant will help countries implement comprehensive vector control strategies, such as indoor residual spraying, increased surveillance and data collection, advocacy, and behavioral change communication. Furthermore, collaboration with national health departments on diagnostics and treatments.
South Africa’s Ministry of Health stated, “South Africa is delighted that the Global Fund will continue to fund the MOSASWA region. This will sustain the gains made thus far and ensure success in the quest to eradicate malaria.
The continuation of the MOSASWA grant is beneficial to South Africa’s efforts to eliminate malaria, as this will only be possible through collaboration with other countries through cross-border initiatives. It is important to remember that parasites and vectors do not respect geographical boundaries.”
With increasing threats to the fight against malaria, such as biological threats, insecticide and drug resistance, there is a need to leverage partnerships and collaboration to accelerate the fight. To change the global trajectory of the disease and achieve zero malaria, better targeting of interventions, new tools, efficient implementation, and increased funding are required.
Mr. Mark Edington, Global Fund Head of Grant Management, added “With improved data collection and surveillance, the program can make data-driven decisions that result in cost-effective malaria control and impact on the ground. Using data, the program can demonstrate the impact of our malaria assistance, demonstrating a significant reduction in malaria cases. This, combined with a strong partnership between government, business, and civil society, gives the Global Fund full confidence in continuing to invest in the program for another three years.”
Goodbye Malaria, the grant’s private sector partner, has contributed US$5.5 million to this third MOSASWA grant, bringing its total investment in driving malaria elimination in the region to just over $13 million (R227 million) since 2017.
“Despite a global pandemic and economic crisis, this unique partnership has ensured that continued regional success has translated into continued investment in the fight against malaria. I’d like to express my gratitude to The Global Fund, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and our private sector partners, including Nando’s and Vodacom Mozambique, for their ongoing support of the MOSASWA grant. Malaria has no borders, and so does our fight against it,” Sherwin Charles, co-founder and CEO of Goodbye Malaria, concluded.