March 30, 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland
Each year, the Alliance for Malaria Prevention (AMP) Core Group decides on which countries or individuals should receive awards at the annual partners meeting. Given the enormous accomplishments of 2021 – more than 160 million ITNs distributed, with approximately one-third of these planned for 2020 and distributed in 2021 – this year was again difficult for the AMP Core Group to take decisions on national malaria programmes and individuals that should receive AMP awards for exceptional performance or to encourage continued progress in the fight against malaria. The AMP Core Group congratulates all of the national malaria programmes and partners that have worked to keep progress against malaria on track, making significant efforts to ensure that planned ITN distributions, both campaign and continuous distribution, were implemented as planned.
In 2020, the AMP partnership lost two major leaders, supporters and friends. The AMP Core Group decided last year to honour these individuals, whose work to keep malaria high on the agenda in their countries, to use data for decision-making and to ensure leadership and capacity building of their teams was an inspiration to all of us, by providing awards in their names. The AMP Core Group took a decision to maintain these awards moving forward.
In honour of Dr. Samuel Juana Smith, the Programme Manager of the Sierra Leone National Malaria Control Programme, who worked tirelessly to ensure that his country made progress against malaria and focused on the health of children under five and pregnant women who are particularly affected by the disease, the AMP Core Group would like to provide the award for leadership to Dr. Perpetua Uhomoibhi and the Nigeria National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP).
Most of the AMP Partnership is aware of the heavy burden of malaria in Nigeria, a country with a population of over 200 million people. Ensuring that malaria remains high on the agenda, that resources are mobilized to ensure effective malaria prevention and case management services reach the entire population at risk and that high-quality services for malaria are delivered in even the most remote parts of the country requires exceptional leadership, coordination and vision. In 2021 alone, the Nigeria NMEP led and coordinated the distribution of more than 35 million ITNs, which is more than some countries undertake every three years. While the ITN distribution is an enormous achievement, it is important to recognize that this is only one element of the malaria elimination programme and multiple campaigns for seasonal malaria chemoprevention as well as routine service delivery were also successfully achieved in 2021. The Nigeria NMEP, under the leadership of Dr Uhomoibhi, continues to improve on its ITN campaign delivery and assessment, focusing particularly on strengthening the process and use of data from the post-campaign monitoring. Over the past several years, the Nigeria NMEP has worked tirelessly to engage new donors and is congratulated for mobilizing resources to fill gaps, leaving no “orphan states” behind. AMP is honoured to support the efforts of the Nigeria NMEP to end malaria in Nigeria.
In honour of Dr. Jorge Alexandre Harrison Arroz, the Technical Manager Malaria Global Fund Project of World Vision Mozambique, whose passion for data and using it to ensure continuous improvements in programme planning and implementation, we would like to provide an award for using data for decision-making the Zambia National Malaria Elimination Centre (NMEC).
The Zambia NMEC has inspired AMP and national malaria programmes with the use of the geospatial mapping for improved targeting of malaria interventions in the country, with a strong focus on achieving malaria elimination. The efforts of the NMEC to use available technology, to build and improve on existing information and to ensure that available data on disease burden, population and access are used to ensure high-quality service delivery are commendable. The NMEC has strongly focused on monitoring impact and process indicators to ensure programmatic improvements, ensuring that epidemiological indicators are tracked and using data for decision-making, policy and strategy revisions to keep progress towards elimination on track. The continued investment in a strong community health worker structure supports the Zambia NMEC’s efforts and ensures that the systems are in place to reach malaria elimination in the country. The AMP Partnership is grateful to the Zambia NMEC for the sharing of their experiences and looks forward to the new innovations that will help Zambia and other national malaria programmes achieve malaria elimination.
The final AMP award is being provided in line with the themes of Day 1 of the meeting, ensuring access to effective ITNs, and Day 2 of the meeting, scaling up new ITN types. The award is being provided to Achim Redding and Alex Heimsch of the BASF Public Health Team for the development of Interceptor G2 and for their perseverance in all aspects of bringing a new and novel innovation through the regulatory processes to market entry – especially through a global pandemic that created significant supply chain constraints. We encourage the BASF Public Health Team to continue to innovate in all areas of vector control and specifically in the continued development of new tools to ensure that insecticide resistance is no longer a challenge to ensuring the efforts of national malaria programmes lead to significant return on investment in their fight against malaria in their countries.