> GOODBYE MALARIA

IT’S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE, TO MALARIA

Mosquitoes. For most people around the world, their buzzing is merely an irritation and a disruption to sleep. For many in Africa, it is a deadly killer. Of all the beautiful, awe-inspiring and scary animals across this continent, one of its smallest insects wreaks the most tragedy and pain. To think that this is preventable: nearly every minute, a child under the age of 5 dies from malaria, and this silent killer takes over 600,000 souls a year in sub-Saharan Africa. Mosquitoes: Africa’s curse.

“We can’t kill mosquitoes, but we can end malaria,” believes Sherwin Charles, co-founder and CEO of Goodbye Malaria, an African run social benefit organisation with the goal of eliminating malaria in Southern Africa.

“Elimination is achievable. Our generation can create innovative solutions for problems that ultimately change the way the world sees Africa – and kill off this preventable disease.”

Such hefty aspirations aren’t expressed without purpose and passion. Those are potent motivators. These solve humanities’ worst problems, send people into space, and empower billions of people through new technologies. Moreover, malaria presents a unique opportunity to Africa and Africans: the development of new technologies, fresh thinking, and a deep-rooted sense of ‘we can do it better ourselves.’ That’s what underpinned Sherwin Charles, Robbie Brozin and Kim Lazarus uniting to found Goodbye Malaria. This is Africa’s time to rise.

Goodbye Malaria’s programmes reached fever pitch in 2009 in the run-up to South Africa’s 2010 FIFA World Cup, marking it as a global watershed moment for Africa. The soldiers in the war on malaria weren’t losing energy. “We said to ourselves that we can prove to the world that we can implement solutions,” said Sherwin. “But, we will also have the world take notice of Africa with the excellence and world-class solutions that can come out of Africa – as well as showing the world we’re capable of solving our own challenges.

In 2010, during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, ‘United Against Malaria’ gained a groundswell of media attention and support from across the globe. With famous footballers bringing attention to the plight of malaria. People around the world bought a ‘United Against Malaria’ bracelet – with $10 million raised from this project alone.

This campaign helped position Goodbye Malaria for international support to make a local difference.

Goodbye Malaria is the culmination of passionate African entrepreneurs united to eliminate malaria in Africa, believing that our generation can create innovative solutions that ultimately change the way the world sees Africa.

The initiative facilitates public-private partnerships, bringing together the private sector, the governments of Mozambique, Eswatini and South Africa and The Global Fund whilst supporting and catalysing on-the-ground malaria elimination programmes.

“Through our public-private partnership, we have brought private sector skills and mindset, fostering an impact driven culture to tackle a public health challenge.” Said Sherwin.

Goodbye Malaria’s flagship programme is LSDI2, a cross-border, regional programme working in the MOSASWA (South Africa, Eswatini and Mozambique) region. Mozambique is among the six countries that accounted for more than half of all malaria cases and deaths worldwide as a high malaria transmission country, while Eswatini and South Africa are low transmission countries. This makes it a strategic area to tackle if elimination in Southern Africa is to be achieved. Most of the work undertaken by the programme is therefore focused on Southern Mozambique.

Left to right: Sherwin Charles, Robbie Brozin, Kingsley Holgate, and Kim Lazarus (Founders of Goodbye Malaria)

The key malaria intervention of the programme is Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS). During the last year, with a dedicated team of over 3 000 (majority female) boots on the ground sprayed, Goodbye Malaria has protected the lives of over 3 million people in the region. Not only do their initiatives protect the community from malaria, but spray operators are recruited locally, creating much-needed employment.

The programme’s success lies in its utilising communities and implementing role-players at ground level. “As we continue to make impressive gains in the fight against malaria we need to ensure malaria programme’ continue to be proactive in generating and sustaining community support for elimination activities. Ensuring we build a broader awareness of continued malaria risk despite reductions in cases. Communities affected by the disease will ultimately achieve Zero Malaria. For this to happen, the community itself must define, believe in, and commit to strategies to interrupt transmission.” explained Sherwin.

The African continent has also learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. With the evolution of vaccines and rollout programmes, African based medical manufacturers are key to supplying treatment for Africans. The speed – and technology – with which a vaccine can be brought to market means that such a medication could become feasible for malaria across the continent. Africans are inspired more than ever – and spurred on by the successes of Goodbye Malaria – to find solutions right here.

The organisation aims to raise further awareness and funding for malaria programs by driving cause-related marketing actions through their range of causal merchandise made by local communities and crafters via social entrepreneurship groups to shape societal transformations through education and economic empowerment. Shop to contribute towards meaningful change at one of Goodbye Malaria carts located at OR Tambo International airport, Cape Town or George Airport or visit them online with proceeds from the sale of each item going towards malaria elimination efforts in the region.

“Eliminating malaria by 2030 in Southern Africa is an audacious goal ,” said Sherwin. “But it can be achieved. There’s a lot of work to be done, more so with the proliferation of COVID-19. With care, integrity and true grit, we truly believe as Africans, we can say hamba kahle, sala kakuhle, adios and Goodbye, Malaria. For good.”

“Zero Malaria starts with me” is a global white label campaign that Goodbye Malaria is part of, but it is their modus operandi to solving Africa’s curse. Goodbye Malaria can only sustain its gains through community involvement. Involving communities on-the-ground are the key to this project’s success. Every donation to Goodbye Malaria from the wider community makes a difference. We urge you to help eliminate malaria with your support. Visit their website.

GOODBYE MALARIA

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