UNDP and Global Fund sign agreement to bolster efforts
Geneva - A new agreement reached in Sudan by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is set to provide a major boost in the fight against malaria in the country.
Sudan’s national malaria control programme – with the support of the Global Fund, UNDP, UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and others partners – has reduced the number of malaria cases from more than seven million in 2000 to 2.8 million in 2014. Between 2009 and 2012, the number of deaths due to malaria was reduced by 46%.
However, there remains a high burden of malaria-related morbidity and mortality in Sudan and the disease is a public health priority. Endemic in most parts of the country, malaria yearly turns into an epidemic in six states out of 18 following heavy rains or floods from River Nile. There are currently 34 million people at risk of malaria across the country. Malaria accounts for 8.7% of all health facility visits, 11% of all hospital admissions and is a leading cause of illness and death in children under five years in Sudan.
“We collaborate with UNDP since 2005 and thanks to the Global Fund grant our medical team each year can treat more than 2.8 million people who present malaria symptoms. This is an enormous gain for the country, not only because we have managed to save many lives but also because people can continue to pursue healthy and productive lives, which also reduces the burden on the overall social and economic development of the country” noted a manager of the National Malaria Control and Prevention Programme (NMCP) from Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health.
Since 2005, UNDP is actively working in Sudan with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to reduce transmission and morbidity and to strengthen the national health system.
As part of a large prevention programme, UNDP in collaboration with country partners has been encouraging families to sleep under long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) in risk areas and by 2014 has distributed more than 13 million bed nets to provide protection to 26 million people, covering about 78% of the territory. The plan is to reach universal coverage by 2016. The programme specifically addressed pregnant women and children under 5, hard-to-reach populations and populations at risk. The bed nets are treated with insecticides, unlike ordinary bed nets that are available in the local market, and give better protection from mosquito bites and other insects like sand flies, preventing malaria, leishmaniasis and filaria.
In rural areas, where access to curative and diagnostic services is limited, UNDP is strengthening the capacity of more than 3,000 dispensaries with free rapid diagnostic tests. It has also trained more than 450 community volunteers since 2007 in malaria home-based management, to diagnose quickly the disease so that treatment can be given within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.
Today’s announcement will see US$81 million added to the Global Fund’s existing malaria grant in Sudan. The two-year grant will support Sudan’s National Malaria Strategy to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality by 25% from the baseline of 2013, treat more than 6 million people and distribute bed nets, spraying material and laboratory material.
“The key interventions to prevent malaria - bed nets, insecticide spraying, and access to treatments - are well known and have achieved significant results in Sudan. The next step is to strengthen the national response capacity to transfer progressively the management of the Global Fund grant. The activities planned for the new grant will contribute to this responsibility shift,” said Sherry Joseph, UNDP Programme Manager in Khartoum.
The two-year grant will help the programme reach the following targets:
- More than 6 million patients will be treated by ACTs free of charge;
- 2.4 million LLINs will be distributed through a mass campaign to protect at least 4.9 million people at malaria risk mainly in Darfur, Kordofan, Blue Nile and Gadarif states;
- A quarter of a million pregnant women will be protected through the provision of long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets;
- More than 3 million household will be sprayed by indoor residual spraying in Gazira and Sennar states;
- 1,500 care providers and 900 nurses will be trained on national guidelines for malaria treatment;
- 900 laboratory technicians will receive training on malaria diagnosis;
- Surveillance systems will be strengthened to respond to the malaria epidemic.
According to WHO, in 2013 there were about 198 million malaria cases worldwide and an estimated 584,000 malaria deaths. Increased prevention and control measures have led to a reduction in global malaria mortality rates by 47% since 2000.
About the Global Fund
The Global Fund is a 21st-century organization designed to accelerate the end of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics. Founded in 2002, the Global Fund is a partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Global Fund raises and invests nearly US$4 billion a year to support programs run by local experts in more than 140 countries.
UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.
Sarah Bel - Communication Specialist