WHO Strategic Technical Advisory Group on the Global Malaria Programme

Introductory speech

19 May 2006

Honourable Ministers, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you for coming to advise WHO on malaria control.

It signals a fourfold shift in our approach: from continental to global; from ‘what’ to ‘how’; from fragmented field activities to inclusive monitoring; and from piecemeal research to a globally streamlined research agenda.

Malaria control has to take into account needs and the resources for meeting them wherever they exist in the world. A very strong emphasis on Africa must continue of course, but both the problem and its solution are global.

We must use the opportunities and meet the needs for effective control wherever they occur. All parts of the world must both contribute to and benefit from malaria control.

Much effort has gone into finding out ‘what’ should be done, and it has been very fruitful. The question now is ‘how’ it should be done.

Clear answers are coming from countries and activities worldwide, and our main effort now has to be to put them into practice.

We are in the process of setting up a simple, rapid and effective monitoring system. This will enable everyone involved to see what the others are doing and let their own work be seen. The outcome will be increased interaction and accountability. Everyone will benefit from that.

Brilliant research has been done and is being done.

However, some efforts are being duplicated. Some important findings are being ignored for lack of adequate communication channels. Effective interventions are known but not used for lack of appropriate resources. The Global Malaria Programme will help to bridge these communication and resource gaps.

In earlier years of WHO, successes with vector control and antimalarials led to excitement about eradicating malaria. Unforeseen difficulties then caused opinion to swing the other way. There were feelings of gloom and helplessness about even keeping the disease in check.

We must beware of both pitfalls. Over-confidence and faintheartedness are equally dangerous.

Malaria is preventable and controllable. We know that. At the same time, however, malaria is one of the deadliest and most resilient diseases in the world.

Uncommon courage, toughness, and determination are needed to defeat it. We know that too.

With your help we can make good use of all this hard-won knowledge.

We need that help both to make this new programme work and to combine it effectively with the other important initiatives now aimed at tackling malaria.

The Global Fund, the World Bank Booster programme, the US President’s Malaria Initiative, the African Abuja Summit, and the Roll Back Malaria partnership can double or triple their potential by working well together.

Through our country and regional offices we can play a key role in making this happen.

The new directions for malaria control are taking shape. Thank you for being here to speed up and complete the process.

I wish you every success.

Thank you.