New grant to establish an African Regional Learning Community to tackle malaria

December 13, 2006 by PATH

Gates Foundation grant supports innovative network to leverage lessons learned in reducing the devastating impact of malaria

Meg DeRonghe, office 1.206.788.2156, mobile 1.206.724.8235,
Cristina Herdman, office 1.206.788.2155, mobile 1.206.384.9438,

Seattle, Washington, December 13, 2006—PATH has received a grant of $29 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to broaden its malaria work in sub-Saharan Africa. The new grant will allow the Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA), a program at PATH, to identify and provide technical assistance to up to five central and southern African nations that are scaling up malaria prevention and control.

MACEPA will establish a regional network for sharing lessons learned and providing critical technical resources to fight malaria. The project will draw on tools and methods used in Zambia, where MACEPA currently supports an ambitious effort to rapidly scale up the country’s national malaria program. Learning from the Zambian experience will help countries to make the best use of their malaria control resources and collaborate on programs tailored for their national circumstances.

The participating countries will form the MACEPA Regional Learning Community (RLC), a forum for documenting and resolving challenges and ultimately disseminating lessons learned to other African countries and the global community. MACEPA, through the RLC, will support each country in planning, program management, monitoring and evaluation, and national advocacy. In turn, each country will contribute to the growing body of evidence surrounding the rapid scale-up of proven malaria control methods, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor spraying with insecticides, and effective treatment.

"This new grant will help mobilize our partners in Africa and greatly expand knowledge on scaling up malaria control in Africa and beyond. It is unacceptable that 3,000 children continue to die each day from a disease that is preventable, controllable, and treatable. The impact of this grant in malaria-endemic countries will be of significant value for many years to come,” said Dr. Awa Marie Coll-Seck, PATH board member and executive secretary of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, an initiative created in 1998 by WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Bank.

This award builds upon a 2005 grant to PATH from the Gates Foundation to support collaboration in Zambia among the national government, MACEPA, key international donors, and the Zambia Roll Back Malaria Partnership. The Zambia collaboration has produced the region’s most comprehensive national plan to rapidly scale up malaria prevention and treatment services. During 2006, more than 1 million insecticide-treated nets have been distributed in Zambia, and nearly 2.5 million more are expected to be distributed in 2007; indoor spraying with insecticides is being conducted in urban settings; and medicines are reaching those most vulnerable to malaria.

“The Regional Learning Community will foster national efforts to implement the ‘scale-up for impact’ approach to controlling malaria. But the power is in numbers; world-class monitoring and evaluation efforts will allow African nations to tout their triumphs and inspire global commitment to malaria prevention and control,” said MACEPA program director, Dr. Carlos C. (Kent) Campbell. “MACEPA is proud to be working in close collaboration with partners in the region, complementing their efforts by providing consistent and coordinated documentation of progress and results.”

“PATH welcomes the opportunity to support African countries in quickly bringing about long overdue, dramatic, and sustainable reductions in the economic and health burdens associated with malaria,” said Dr. Christopher J. Elias, PATH president.

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