Roll Back Malaria in the aftermath of complex emergencies: the example of Afghanistan
The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership was established in 1998 to address the worldwide malaria burden through a new approach. It was founded by four multilateral agencies that were already committed to supporting malaria control: the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Bank and the World Health Organization. In contrast to previous campaigns, RBM focuses on strengthening existing health services to ensure that malaria can be controlled through an integrated approach, rather than through creation and maintenance of a separate structure. Field experience of RBM is rarely documented in the open scientific literature, making it difficult to judge its success and apply lessons learned to other settings. This paper aims at improving on this by documenting experience of RBM support in Afghanistan during initial post-conflict reconstruction. From the analysis some recommendations emerged: (i) technical in-country support needs to be provided for a number of years, as short postings are likely to provide only temporary solutions and may fail to contribute towards medium or long-term development; (ii) the role and responsibilities of support staff need to be clear to all RBM partners; (iii) part of this role should be to act as focal point, in an attempt to improve on coordination and (iv) if possible, support staff should be seconded to the MoH, to avoid association of the RBM initiative with a specific international organization and to further the multi-sectorial partnership approach.