September 15, 2011
Today, at the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C. the global health and international development communities joined together to celebrate ten successful years of collaboration between the USAID Amazon Malaria Initiative and PAHO’s Amazon Network for the Surveillance of Antimalarial Drug Resistance (AMI + RAVREDA). A panel of distinguished speakers and a keynote address both reflected on the elements of success essential to this collaboration.
The marriage between AMI and RAVEDA represents a complex network of global, national and regional actors who have in the last decade been exceptionally successful at saving lives and reducing the cases of malaria in and around the Amazon Basin. The new PAHO data reveals that between 2000 and 2009, there was a 52% reduction in malaria cases and a 69% decrease in deaths attributable to malaria in 21 countries in South America. Nine of these countries saw a reduction of malaria cases by 75%. The cohesive level of interaction and the scale of collaboration AMI+REVEDA has exhibited has been crucial to the success these numbers portray.
Edgar Barillar, MD, Senior Program Associate of the Management Sciences for Health/Strengthening Pharmaceutical Systems, highlighted the importance of a broad network of partners. He said, “mosquitos disrespect boundaries” and partners are essential to effectively addressing boundary regions between countries often inundated with high numbers of malaria cases. He pointed out that the rigorous evidence-based public health practice of partners was essential to utilizing technical expertise and program components. The evidence-based practice has been an effective tool for shaping policy in these countries and has built consensus and trust among countries from regional to national levels.
Rear Admiral R. Timothy Ziemer, U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator of the President’s Malaria Initiative, emphasized the importance of funding countries and the US government’s role in supporting this program. He highlighted the importance of the CDC and USAID as implementing arms to this collaboration. He reiterated the U.S. commitment to saving lives and removing malaria as a public health threat and congratulated AMI+RAVREDA for tracking impact indicators and turning U.S. investment into good value.
Susan Thoullag, Health Team Leader, LAC Bureau, USAID, said in conclusion, “AMI+RAVREDA is a great way of doing business by harmonizing scientific expertise and national country plans…and efficiently creating a sustained effort, ten years and counting.”