Since 1998, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) – hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) – has been central to the global fight against malaria. The past fifteen years have seen tremendous gains in reducing the burden of disease and progressing towards malaria elimination. According to the World Malaria Report 2015, released on 9 December 2015, more than half (57) of the 106 countries with malaria in 2000 had achieved reductions in new malaria cases of at least 75% by 2015. In that same time frame, 18 countries reduced their malaria cases by 50-75%.
The success of the RBM Partnership in harmonizing partner action against malaria has enabled us to set an even more ambitious target for the next 15 years: with the WHO Global Technical Strategy (GTS) and accompanying RBM Action and Investment to defeat Malaria (AIM) setting our collective sights on a further 90% reduction by 2030; and the Global Goals for Sustainable Development under Target 3.3 calling on partners to "end" malaria. The expected cost to achieve these goals is currently estimated at ~$100 Billion, setting us an equally ambitious resource mobilization challenge to meet these targets.
Every four to five years, RBM has commissioned an External Evaluation to ensure the Partnership remains fit-for-purpose to drive continued momentum towards a malaria-free world. The most recent evaluation in December 2013 highlighted that significant adjustments to RBM’s structure would be necessary to sustain its successes and build on them to deliver on the GTS’ ambitious 2030 goals and objectives. The External evaluation noted that the Partnership must be better able to support malaria-affected regions and countries with a high burden of disease, and adapt to overcome the significant barriers to realizing the targets in the GTS.
The report also noted that the changing malaria landscape and political environment would require the Partnership to be better equipped to advocate for financing at the highest levels in the increasingly complex world of international development and global health finance. The RBM partnership needs to marshal the international community and build the necessary national contributions and capacity to mobilize the necessary resources to achieve malaria elimination.
After a considerable period of consultation, and with the end of the hosting relationship with WHO, RBM is ready to take forward a new structure that takes advantage of the tremendous skill, energy and effectiveness of its many partners and will move it conclusively into a new era that aims to have a world free of malaria.
To make the revitalized Partnership fit-for-purpose, the RBM Board agreed at its 29th Meeting on a new governance architecture. This will include the establishment of a reconstituted Partnership Board to lead it, planned to be in place by March 2016. The nomination process for the new Partnership Board will be open from 9 January 2016 and 5 February 2016.
This Partnership Board will be selected to contain enhanced levels of skills and experience at a senior decision-making level as well as representation from across the Partnership, including malaria-affected countries, private sector, civil society, donor funding organisations, and entities outside the malaria and health sectors, civil society and donors.
Priorities for the new Partnership Board will include examination of alternatives for hosting for the RBM Partnership, recruiting a CEO, establishing the new partnership structures, and assessing and instituting new country and regional structures.
As we move into the new era of the RBM Partnership, we recognize how far we have already come in the fight against malaria, and the immense contributions of the Partnership and the outgoing RBM Secretariat. We are confident that the changes to the RBM Partnership architecture will result in a strengthened malaria partnership well-positioned to support the delivery of the ambitious goal of a malaria-free world.