Accra, Ghana - In a significant step towards the eradication of malaria, Ghana launched the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative (ZMBLI) on June 1, 2023. This groundbreaking initiative brings together public and private sector stakeholders in a united front against one of Africa's deadliest diseases.
The launch event, held in Accra, was attended by high-ranking government officials, representatives from the private sector, international partners, and key stakeholders in the fight against malaria. The initiative is led by Ecobank Ghana, in collaboration with Speak Up Africa and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, with the aim of mobilizing resources, promoting awareness, and advocating for stronger political leadership to eliminate malaria in Ghana.
Malaria remains a significant health challenge in Africa, with devastating effects on communities, economies, and healthcare systems. In Ghana alone, malaria is the leading cause of outpatient department attendance and a major cause of hospital admissions. The economic impact is also substantial, with malaria estimated to cost the country 1-2% of its GDP annually and businesses approximately US$6.58 million each year.
The ZMBLI launch showcased the collective determination to combat malaria in Ghana. Dr. Edward Botchway, Executive Director and Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Ghana, emphasized the role of the private sector in driving positive change and sustainable development. He stated, "At Ecobank, we firmly believe that the private sector has a crucial role to play in driving positive change and fostering sustainable development. It is in this spirit that we proudly lead the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative."
The initiative sets forth three key objectives: increasing and sustaining funding for national malaria elimination, strengthening the network of private sector malaria champions, and enhancing coordinated action at the national level. By mobilizing resources, advocating for change, and forging strategic partnerships, the ZMBLI aims to drive meaningful impact and create a transformative force in the fight against malaria.
One notable contribution from Ecobank Ghana is the establishment of the Zero Malaria account with an initial seed fund of USD 120,000. This fund will support the efforts of the National Malaria Elimination Programme and the government's initiatives to eradicate malaria. The ZMBLI also calls on the Ghanaian private sector to join the cause and commit to sustainable participation in the fight against malaria at various levels.
Director of Technical Coordination at the Ministry of Health, Dr Baffour Awuah, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr Kwaku Agyeman, officially launched the initiative and expressed his gratitude to Ecobank, Speak Up Africa, and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria for their leadership and commitment. He emphasized the importance of a multi-sectoral approach, stating, "By aligning our efforts with the country's National Elimination Strategy and with strong commitment from all partners, it is feasible to eliminate malaria from our country by 2030."
The launch of the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative in Ghana marks a significant turning point in the fight against malaria. It represents a collaborative effort to leverage the power of partnerships, innovation, and investment in order to create a malaria-free future. By uniting public and private sectors, Ghana is taking a bold step towards improving the well-being of its citizens, fostering economic growth, and achieving sustainable development goals.
As the ZMBLI takes flight, Ghana paves the way for other countries to follow suit and intensify their efforts to combat malaria. It is a rallying cry to all stakeholders, urging them to join forces, make a difference, and contribute to the ultimate goal of zero malaria cases in Africa.
With determination, shared responsibility, and unwavering commitment, Ghana is poised to make a mark in the malaria elimination agenda in Africa.
Article written by:
Kamal Deen Habib,
Speak Up Africa.