Zimbabwe’s efforts in reducing the number of Malaria deaths have been recognised by an organisation called African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), making it one of six countries in Africa awarded the ALMA Award for Excellence.

Zimbabwe’s award was received by the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa during a luncheon hosted for African heads of state and government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Madagascar, Gambia, Senegal, Algeria and Comoros are the other countries honoured for their efforts in fighting Malaria.

Speaking at the luncheon, Swaziland Prime Minister, Dr Barnabas Sibusiso Dhlamini emphasised on the need for countries to prioritise funding for Malaria.

Zimbabwe, Senegal, Gambia and Madagascar recorded a reduction in Malaria cases by more that 20 percent from 2015 to 2016, while Algeria and Comoros are on track to achieve a more than 40 percent drop in Malaria cases by 2020.

ALMA Executive Secretary, Joy Phmaphi said their organisation is willing to work with every country on the continent to achieve a Malaria free Africa.

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Mr Hailemariam Desalegn implored felloe African leaders to build on progress achieved and ensure that Malaria is eliminated.

Governments were also urged to ensure that life serving tools such as medicines, mosquito nets and programmes like indoor residual spraying initiatives are prioritised.

ALMA is an alliance for 49 countries that have come together to end Malaria on the continent by 2030, but Zimbabwe is not a member of the alliance.

Countries are honoured in accordance with progress they would have made on Malaria control and elimination, and an independent committee of experts drawn from health, the academia and the private sector select the winners.

While many African countries had managed to record a decrease in Malaria cases, 2016 saw the number of Malaria deaths rising.