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End-of-Year Message from PMI Impact Malaria’s Director, Ricki Orford

In the final weeks of 2021, let us reflect on how far we’ve come towards a world without malaria. This year’s World Malaria Report shows that although the pandemic disrupted malaria services and impacted elimination progress, the projected worst-case scenario of a doubling of malaria deaths was avoided. This was largely due to the leadership of endemic countries to adapt malaria prevention campaigns and treatment services to ensure care continued to reach Sara. PMI Impact Malaria (IM) countries led by adapting to remote mentoring and developing e-learning modules for health providers to continue improving their quality of malaria services during lockdowns.  

Since the beginning of our project, that resilience and commitment to success is clearly reflected in our recent Mid-term Performance Evaluation Report from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). “The project’s performance is outstanding” reads the report. “IM enjoys an excellent reputation among in-country partners as a collaborative and cooperative malaria partner” and we will continue to be, because that feedback is a testament to you all.  

IM supported incredible achievements this year thanks to your hard work and dedication every day in the service of Sara. In Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Niger, and Mali, IM supported national malaria control programs to reach more than five million children through seasonal malaria chemoprevention campaigns. By adapting COVID-19 safety measures and conducting independent household surveys, we adjusted to improve campaigns in real time. This resulted in protecting an additional one million children this year.   

Building capacity is critical to strengthening health systems. Through our Outreach, Training, and Supportive Supervision Plus (OTSS+) approach, IM supported 3,833 OTSS+ visits in 2,715 health facilities across 11 countries, along with updating their malaria case management and malaria in pregnancy guidelines and training curricula to align with global policies. IM supported malaria diagnostic refresher trainings for laboratory technicians in 12 countries to improve their malaria microscopy skills and accuracy when reading malaria rapid diagnostics tests. At IM Headquarters, we’ve been busy inputting core indicator data into the Data Hub and finalizing standard OTSS+ checklists while launching an independent evaluation on our approach to understand strengths and opportunities. Assisting pandemic response at front-line facilities in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ghana, IM also supported efforts by integrating prevention, control, and safety measures into the malaria clinical and laboratory OTSS+ checklists. 

We’ve made progress on studying the accuracy and reliability of a new point-of-care test for G6PD deficiency in Cambodia, once considered to make malaria incurable in patients with this deficiency. IM supported mass drug administration in Senegal, antenatal care in Benin and Mali, and the planning and implementation of studies to better understand regional resistance in eight countries in Africa and for radical cure treatment of Plasmodium vivax in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

I am deeply grateful to and proud of you all for these and many more outstanding efforts. Your commitment and resilience are what make bringing care closer to Sara possible. Not only for our project legacy, but for the larger purpose we serve: a world without malaria. Thank you for continuing to care for each other as we navigate together. Stay safe and enjoy the final weeks of the year.  

Wishing you all good health and happy holidays,  

Ricki Orford

Project Director, PMI Impact Malaria

 

PMI Impact Malaria is funded and technically assisted by the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) and is led by Population Services International (PSI) in partnership with JhpiegoMedical Care Development International (MCDI), and the Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI) at UC San Francisco. 

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