Strong leadership committed to making informed decisions and creating partnerships is critical for endemic countries to maintain gains from the past decade.
Starting in Senegal, PATH and Speak Up Africa created a nationwide campaign, Zero Malaria Starts With Me in 2014 with the aim of building ownership over a “malaria-free” status at community level and increasing awareness, prioritization and political commitment to malaria elimination among key stakeholders at all levels.
The campaign is based on engaging political actors to ensure malaria elimination remains a priority for Senegal leadership; diversifying funding sources to increase financial resources for malaria elimination interventions, and establishing innovative public-private partnerships; creating a community-based movement to increase awareness and ownership of anti-malaria interventions.
The campaign led over 45 elected officials and 18 private sector companies to sign a pact and commit to contribute to the elimination of malaria in Senegal. In one of the country’s most populated districts, the campaign created a group of strong community champions. Following a comprehensive program including crediting model households with Zero Malaria labels and the organization of social mobilization activities, these community champions, visited over 3000 households and conducted over 120 awareness sessions. In total, nearly 20 000 people were impacted by this small group of volunteers over a 6-month period, thanks to the contribution of a private sector company, which believed in the program and borne the costs.
Discussion and conclusion:
The campaign shows that creative and innovative ways can be found and implemented to reach different levels of the population to ensure nationwide buy-in to malaria elimination. By approaching different stakeholders, the campaign has served to build a real brand around malaria elimination in Senegal. The learnings of the campaign implementation could be useful to other countries in the region with similar malaria elimination goals.