Enabel announces a strategic partnership with Bluesquare and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to step up the fight against malaria in Burundi and Niger. This partnership supports the health system development efforts of the Belgian governmental cooperation. The partnership aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality due to malaria, a disease that still is a major challenge in many regions of Africa.
A common enemy: malaria
Malaria remains one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2022 there were an estimated 249 million cases of malaria worldwide, resulting in almost 608,000 deaths, the vast majority of which were in Africa. These numbers underline the urgent need to act and reduce this devastating disease.
The Belgian governmental cooperation: a comprehensive approach
The partnership project between Enabel, Bluesquare and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation takes a comprehensive approach and uses a variety of strategies to combat this disease. This includes improving access to quality health care, integrating local malaria activities into existing health systems, building the capacity of national malaria control programmes, developing innovative malaria surveillance and response systems and expanding malaria research and surveillance.
“Belgium’s investments in strengthening health systems have been impressive. We are convinced that this partnership will enable us to considerably improve access to quality malaria care in Niger and Burundi. We look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration with Enabel, an important new partner for the Gates Foundation in the fight against malaria,” says Bruno Moonen, programme officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Burundi and Niger: high-risk areas
The initial phase of the project will target Burundi and Niger, two countries facing major challenges in terms of malaria and poverty eradication. In Burundi, the project will focus on the provinces of Kirundo and Cibitoke. These high-risk regions have been specifically chosen to provide significant support for improving healthcare infrastructures, patient care pathways and the sustainable management of biomedical equipment.
In Niger, where the densely populated southern regions are particularly affected by malaria, the project will be deployed in six districts of Dosso and one of Tillaberi. The aim is to improve malaria management, build teaching capacity for other districts and support the National Malaria Control Programme at central level.
Innovation and public-private partnership
As part of a public-private partnership, Enabel will be working with Bluesquare, a Belgian company specialising in innovative health information systems, to strengthen malaria surveillance. Bluesquare is a long-standing partner of the Ministries of Health in Burundi and Niger. Eliminating malaria requires accessing, modelling and communicating a complex set of data, such as data from epidemiological surveillance systems, data from routine health services, data from surveys of mosquito resistance to insecticides or satellite images of the climate. Bluesquare will develop advanced data platforms combining these different data sources for Burundi or Niger.
Grégoire Lurton, head of the technical implementation team at Bluesquare said: “We are delighted to be working with Enabel and our colleagues in Burundi and Niger to continue to innovate together on the data front in the fight against malaria and to implement cutting-edge techniques to help the most vulnerable populations.”
Final objective: a lasting impact
This partnership between Enabel, Bluesquare and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a significant step forward in the fight against malaria in Africa. By tackling the root causes of the problem, implementing innovative solutions and establishing strategic partnerships, the three organisations aim to make a lasting impact to improve the health of vulnerable populations. “Enabel is delighted to partner with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Bluesquare in this visionary initiative. Together, we aim to transform healthcare systems, reduce inequalities in access to care and make a significant contribution to the global fight against malaria,” concludes Jean Van Wetter, Managing director of Enabel.
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Guido Couck, Head of Communications
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