'Princess of Africa' Launches Malaria Foundation

15 Mar 2024
JOHANNESBURG, March 15, 2007—Leading South African singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, known throughout the region as the 'Princess of Africa,' today launched a new foundation to improve accountability and transparency in the use of funds dedicated to fighting malaria on the continent, one of the key recommendations from a UK All Party Parliamentary Malaria Group (APPMG) report on financing, which is being launched in London today by the UK Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn.

Accompanied by World Bank Group President, Paul Wolfowitz, Ms. Chaka Chaka,
who is also UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador for Malaria, urged donors, recipient countries, development agencies, and other members of the Roll Back Malaria Initiative to ensure that funds earmarked for malaria were used transparently and delivered measurable results. She also called on African nations and donors to deliver on their promises to better fight malaria, with fewer deaths and less illness caused by the mosquito-borne disease.

"We will serve as a catalyst in the emergence of an empowered African community which is highly knowledgeable about malaria, its causes and how to control it effectively," said Yvonne Chaka Chaka at the launch of her new foundation in South Africa. "The Foundation aims to mobilize society across Africa to empower the local communities and gain their input."

Ambassador Chaka Chaka said urgent action was needed to combat the sheer scale of death and illness caused by malaria every year but also economic loss. She said malaria also blunted economic growth, for example, when adults, debilitated by the disease, cannot work, and lose income. Furthermore, the education system becomes disrupted when children are either too sick to attend school, or their teachers are absent because of malaria-related illnesses.

Ms. Chaka Chaka also emphasized a key APPMG report recommendation that donors and African countries should commit to mobilizing innovative long-term, predictable funds so that health ministers in the region could plan effective sustainable malaria control programs to prevent and treat malaria among the very poorest populations of Africa which she said were still not being reached by lifesaving drugs and prevention measures.

For its part, the World Bank welcomed the new foundation's strong emphasis on better accountability and transparency in using funds dedicated to fighting malaria. With malaria claiming the lives of more than a million people ever year, the vast majority being children in Africa, and causing millions more to become sick, the Bank said it was imperative that poor countries, donors, civil society organizations, and other key groups were better able to track the flow of malaria funds, and be able to demonstrate fewer deaths and less sickness as a results of their malaria-fighting programs.

"We are at a critical juncture," said World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. "Countries are beginning to show results, distributing treated bed-nets, expanding indoor house spraying, and decreasing malaria transmission and related deaths. It is possible to fight this disease successfully, but we must monitor results closely, and the efforts must be sustained."

Wolfowitz also emphasized accountability and transparency as important pillars in the World Bank's Booster Program for Malaria Control in Africa, which was launched in late 2005 to help African countries reduce the deaths, illness, and economic losses caused by malaria on the continent each year. So far, the Booster Program, which helps countries cover the costs for preventive measures such as spraying inside homes and insecticide-treated bed-nets, as well as medications to prevent and treat malaria, has provided US$357 million to carry out malaria projects in 11 African countries.