Author: Dr. Michel ODIKA - January 15, 2015.

There is no method but to be intelligent  (Thomas ELIOT).

Each one should carry their own load  (Galatians 6:5)

Now More Than Ever. The global response to malaria critically requires: innovative approaches, coordinated efforts, context-sensitive policies, evidence-based strategies and, not least, reliable accountability for tracking progress against the disease.

Five Key Requirements. The project (Congo-Brazzaville, Central Africa) is basically aimed at:

I. Institutionalizing the multisectoral response to malaria (1);

II. Optimizing multi-stakeholders partnerships and networks around shared agendas;

III. Fostering scale efficiencies;

IV. Promoting Timely Public Health Intelligence;

V. Strengthening environmental safety and sustainability.


Five Main Objectives. The project is primarily focused on:

I. Empowering leadership (Building Capacity);

II. Improving governance (Capacity Building);

III. Capitalizing on basic data and strategic information;

IV. Valorizing and mobilizing available resources;

V. Reducing malaria-induced mortality/morbidity ratios - see Ending Malaria Deaths in Africa (Jeffrey SACHS, Scientific Americ, 2007).

What else? The project to establish a Malaria Observatory in Congo-Brazzaville is built around five pillars (2). This critically requires:

I. an agreed “Malaria Action Framework” (3) to be translated into an agreed “Malaria Action Plan” (4);

II. a national “Malaria Coordinating Authority” (5);

III. a “Malaria Response Information System” (6);

IV. a country-level “Monitoring and Evaluation System”;

V. a context-sensitive and innovative “Warning Mechanism” (7).

ULTIMATELY. Few would disagree that we have no alternative but to respond better to malaria, development issue as significant as any confronting the world. Malaria Observatories, once fully established in the hardest-hit countries, could, and should, be helpful in facing the challenge to eradicate a deadly disease…

Dr Michel ODIKA (Congo-Brazzaville)


1. Observatoire du Paludisme: réformes institutionnelles à l’ordre du jour (Michel ODIKA, Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 2011).

2. Each one should be considered to be equally important and essential to a successful outcome, and all five should be developed in parallel…

3. This simply means facing the facts, engaging all key stakeholders, capitalizing on strategic information. Above all, this also means mainstreaming “Malaria Strategies” into “National Development Plans” and “Expenditure Frameworks”. What does it mean to “mainstream” malaria? Credible and plausible answer: mainstreaming malaria can be best defined as a process that enables all development actors to address the causes and effects of malaria in an effective and sustained manner, both through their usual work and within their workplace…

4. In order for all those concerned to work towards common objectives according to common priorities, the Congolese government should engage all key stakeholders – e.g. health professionals, environmentalists, sociologists, economists, NGOs, civil society organizations, etc. – in the development of annual priority “Malaria Action Plans” that are evidence-based, multisectoral, prioritized, fully budgeted and permit clear and simple monitoring and evaluation. These plans should clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of all key stakeholders, stating who does what, when and where. They should detail, prioritize and budget for any needs for technical support and for building capacity of human resources and infrastructure…

5. Typically, a national “Malaria Coordinating Authority” should include both a governing council and a secretariat acting under the council’s oversight and direction. It should derive its authority from three sources: I) from government, which requires political leadership and commitment, delegation of authority through laws, policies and procedures (necessity for establishing a legal and policy framework); II) from its own competence, which requires adequate budgets, qualified staff and timely access to advice, training and technical support; and III) from stakeholders who recognize its mandate from government and its competence (necessity for creating space for civil society participation and empowerment).

6. Need for a science and culture of improvement... A number of standard indicators have been developed, but there is still much work to be done in harmonizing and simplifying the indicators used by the many different stakeholders involved in the malaria response. Historically, many factors have restricted a country's capacity to use malaria-related data. These include limited human and financial resources, multiple reporting demands from stakeholders (including donors) and the lack of a National Health Information System for data related to malaria. For example, many programme managers often find themselves having to report similar data in different formats, while, at the same time, these data are seldom used at the national level as a credible basis for programme refinement and improvement. Even within and between national ministries - e.g. health and research, among other examples -, there is poor sharing and coordination of data...

7. This simply means raising awareness on current challenges and looking ahead to give early warning of likely future challenges…