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RBM Partnership refocused to intensify war against malaria

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Five years after the birth of Roll Back Malaria, this significant health initiative has matured into a global partnership. Today the RBM Partnership Secretariat announced dynamic new leadership structures to provide more effective support for endemic countries' efforts to scale-up the fight against malaria.
Malaria causes at least 3000 deaths a day, over 90% of which are in Africa south of the Sahara and most of which are in young children. Malaria, a major cause of poverty, slows economic growth by as much as 1.3% per year in endemic countries.

Roll Back Malaria (RBM) was launched by Dr.Bruntdland during her first months as Director General of WHO in 1998, with the declared objective of halving the global burden of malaria by 2010. Its founding partners - the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, The World Bank and the World Health Organization - agreed to share their expertise and resources in a concerted effort to tackle malaria worldwide, with a particular focus on Africa.

The RBM initiative has evolved into a global partnership. It has succeeded in raising global awareness of malaria, generating increased resources and achieving consensus on the type of tools and priority interventions required to challenge the disease.

To meet the urgent need for a rapid scaling-up of malaria prevention and malaria control efforts and improve partner coordination in all endemic countries, an RBM Partnership Board has been established to oversee the work of the Partnership and expand the number of partners.

The RBM Partnership Secretariat is pleased to announce the appointment of its first Executive Secretary, Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, previously Minister of Health in Mali. Dr Nafo-Traoré's extensive experience with ECOWAS and alliances such as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, will ensure a greater focus on country level support in the plans and activities of the Partnership. For the first time partners are developing joint work-plans and creating combined country support teams to intensify action. In addition the Secretariat is identifying new sources of finance and methods to increase efficient use of available funds earmarked for malaria control at country level. The Secretariat is also establishing systems which will enable more effective monitoring of the activities and impact of the Partnership.

Dr Nafo-Traoré will work under the guidance of the RBM Partnership Board which is made up of representatives from key constituencies - malaria endemic countries, the private sector, NGOs and RBM founding agencies, WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank as well as donor countries.

"The revitalised Secretariat and new RBM governance structures will create the conditions for better coordination, advocacy and capacity building to enhance the operations of all partners on the ground as they intensify the battle against malaria," said RBM Executive Secretary, Dr Nafo. " This is essential if we are to achieve the goal of halving malaria deaths by 2010. Key to our success will be our ability to help translate the millions of dollars available from the Global Fund and other sources to malaria endemic countries into tangible results ."

As host partner to the RBM Secretariat for the last five years, WHO has also responded to the need for accelerated action against malaria and has established a Malaria Control Department under the Directorship of David Alnwick, previously RBM Project Manager.

For more information contact:

Thomas Teuscher, Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat, WHO, Geneva +41 22 791 3741 e-mail: teuschert@who.int Prudence Smith, Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat, WHO, Geneva +41 22 791 4586 e-mail: smithp@who.int

Roll Back Malaria is a global partnership initiated by WHO, UNDP, UNICEF and the World Bank in 1998. It seeks to work with governments, other development agencies, NGOs, and private sector companies to reduce the human and socio-economic costs of malaria.

Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia, CH-1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland Tel: +41 22 791 2891 E-mail: InfoRBM@who.int www.rbm.who.int