27 May 2015

Mozambique, where malaria is nationally endemic and still a major driver of mortality especially among children, is a good example of how collaboration between government, civil society and the private sector can contribute to an effective response to the disease.

Mozambique was allocated $144.8 million under the new funding model through 2017, to contribute to the national response to the disease that is still responsible for roughly 45% of all hospital visits in the country of 26 million. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas among children under five, where prevalence is some 46.3%. The overarching goal of the national campaign is to halve the malaria burden in the country by 2017, one in a series of steps that could eventually lead to Mozambique being on the road to elimination.

The Global Fund's support to Mozambique includes an additional $10 million contributed by BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities: a registered charity established by the multinational that is the world's largest mining company, and a majority stakeholder in the Mozal Aluminium smelter in Boane in the country's south.

World Vision is one of the principal recipients in Mozambique for malaria, and engaged community-based volunteer workers to mobilize populations and distribute 5.2 million nets  in  selected districts in eight  provinces in the north-central regions of the country: the more rugged and remote regions where access to facilities is lower and malaria endemicity is higher. The distribution campaign, begun in October 2014, is expected to finish in the final three districts by mid-June 2015.

According to Chandana Mendis, director  of the Global Fund project for World Vision, targeting this region makes sense because most of the malaria burden comes from these areas .

Still, despite the collaboration, gaps remain. The current budget for net distribution reflects only about 60% of the need, requiring a more innovative approach to finding resources. A future net distribution campaign, could draw in support from other partners including UNICEF, the World Bank and USAID, Mendis said.

The country must also look to its own indigenous resource base to find more funding for the malaria campaign. Mozambique, a low-income country with a GNI per capita of just $610 annually, has fallen well-short of the commitments under the 2001 Abuja declaration for African countries to commit 15% of their annual budgets to health. The 2015 budget shows just a 6.4% allocation to the public health sector.

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