Multisectoral Action Guide to End Malaria
In 1993, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Strategy for Malaria Control first proposed an explicitly multisectoral and whole-of-government approach, advocating that other sectors, including agriculture, education, energy, the environment, housing, national planning, social development, tourism and transport, all needed to “provide leadership and ensure technical coordination” for the overall malaria response. The recognition that sectors outside of the health sector needed to collaborate and contribute to a comprehensive malaria response and integrated development programme itself led to the creation of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership in 1998 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund, WHO and the World Bank, to support that multisectoral coordination. In 2015, the RBM Partnership and UNDP advanced the theoretical framework for this coordination with the Multisectoral Action Framework for Malaria. However, the integration of the malaria response into the broader development agenda and implementation of the specific actions that could be taken outside of the health sector have remained significant challenges for malaria-endemic countries and for the overall global response. This Multisectoral action guide to end malaria (2021) and its companion, the Multisectoral action guide to end malaria in Zambia (2021), were developed to support malaria advocacy outside of the health sector and to specifically detail the types of interventions that could contribute to the malaria response in different settings. The guides contain specific roles suggested for government ministries, departments and agencies as well as for civil society, the private sector and other external financing partners. They also present the current available evidence base for effective actions taken in different sectors to control malaria and suggest opportunities for additional research to learn more about the potential impact of intervention mixtures in different epidemiological and sociopolitical contexts. It is hoped that the guides will inspire more malaria-endemic countries to review their own national multisectoral strategies, and to consider new policies and actions to address malaria outside of the health sector. In the World Malaria Report 2020, the WHO Director General notes that the remarkable progress that has been made in controlling the disease over the last 20 years has stalled, that the 2020 milestones are unlikely to be met, and that the challenges of the current COVID-19 pandemic pose additional threats to our global malaria strategic objectives. In this context, we believe that this expanded multisectoral approach to malaria is especially timely and relevant. The deployment of existing capital and human resources from other sectors, with explicit consideration of their effects on the transmission of malaria, has the potential to reduce cases and deaths and increase the overall financing available to address malaria. We are pleased to present this guide in the hope that it inspires specific actions across malaria-endemic countries, and that they will tailor its recommendations to their local needs and contexts. This process will be very important, and the relevant sectors should be involved from the beginning, generating opportunities for consensus, mutual ownership and meaningful engagement. The guides represent the collaboration across the partner organizations that make up the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, which stand ready to work with countries in the adaptation and implementation of the recommendations contained within them. We believe a malaria-free world is possible and requires our collective action.