Zimbabwe was honoured Sunday, alongside five other African countries, for leading in the fight to achieve a Malaria-free Africa by 2030.
The country received the honour from the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) who gathered at the 30th African Union Summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
The awards were presented by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the new AU Chairman President Paul Kagame, to Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Senegal and the Gambia. The five countries were awarded for reducing malaria cases by over 20 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Algeria and Comoros also received awards for being on track to achieving an over 40 percent drop in cases by 2020.
According to UNICEF, over one million people die from malaria each year, most of them children under the age of 5, with 90 percent of the cases occurring in Sub-Sahara Africa.
A World Health Report signalled that in 2016, Africa was home to 90% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths were recorded in the region.
Total funding for malaria control and elimination reached an estimated US$ 2.7 billion in 2016. Contributions from governments of endemic countries amounted to US$ 800 million, representing 31% of funding.
Malaria is a preventable and curable disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Leaders were urged to allocate budgets to help meet their commitments in the fight against Malaria.