In preparation for the Global Fund’s 6th replenishment conference scheduled to take place in Lyon in October, Friends of the Global Fund Europe organized a study tour to Niger from March 25 to 28, 2019 with six French, Italian and Norwegian MPs with a view to improving knowledge of malaria in Europe and to witness the health, social and economic impact of anti-malaria programs financed by the Global Fund.
Indeed, while HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis are well known across Europe, Europeans are much less familiar with malaria. The aim of this mission was thus to exchange and gain insight into the experience of Niger, one of the 10 countries most affected by malaria, in the fight against this disease, as well as its achievements and its partnership with the Global Fund to eradicate the affliction. A further goal was to raise awareness among European policymakers with an eye to mobilizing greater resources for the Global Fund and the fight against malaria, and in general all three epidemics.
This mission was an opportunity to analyse the links between the national anti-malaria program, funding provided for the initiative and external assistance, needs concerning strengthening of healthcare systems and mobilization of domestic resources, as well as programs focused on the rights of vulnerable populations (particularly pregnant women and children under the age of five). From a broader perspective, field visits allowed MPs to meet with Nigerien civil society actors, but also offered the chance to observe the progress achieved by the Global Fund and its local partners in the fight against malaria against the backdrop of the country’s firm commitment to eliminate the epidemic, particularly thanks to the participation of the President and First Lady of Niger. It also provided insight into the many challenges still to be met if the disease is to be eradicated by 2030, in line with the goal set by the international community.
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Photos © Ollivier Girard/UN Foundation