Malaria efforts in Africa are at a crossroads. While some countries have seen a greater than 20% increase in malaria cases and deaths since 2016, others are showing that beating malaria is possible. Overall, the African continent accounts for over 90% of the global malaria burden.
Senegal has one of the lowest malaria incidence rates in West Africa and is one of the few countries where this rate continues to decline, with a 30% reduction in estimated cases between 2015 and 2016.
Initiated in Senegal in 2014, the Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaign (ZM SWM) taps well-known national soccer players, politicians, musicians, and teachers to empower communities with information about malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. It leverages existing messaging platforms developed by the National Malaria Control Program and promotes best practices related to systematic use of insecticide-treated nets, early testing with RDTs in case of fever, and free treatment. Central to the success of the ZM SWM campaign is the strong volunteer network of Community Champions. The Community Champions program supports national elimination efforts by training local volunteers to raise awareness of and promote their district’s existing interventions
Inspired by the successful example of Senegal the African Union Commission and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria are planning to launch the expansion of the ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ campaign to reignite grassroot movements in which individuals, families, communities, religious leaders, private sector, political leaders, and other members of society pledge to take responsibility in the fight against malaria.