By Grace Kapatuka
SALIMA-(MANA)-Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda says malaria cases are still high in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) despite great progress being made by countries within the region.
Chiponda made the remarks on Thursday, in Salima during the commemoration of SADC malaria day which also marked the launch of mosquito net mass distribution campaign.
Chiponda said Malaria still remains a major health problem in the region hence the need for member states to come together with interventions that will end the disease in the region.
“We have been discussing about malaria at our three day conference in Lilongwe trying to find ways and means of making sure that at least by 2030, malaria should not be a health threat,” she said.
She said SADC region members have come up with interventions aimed at fighting malaria citing mass distribution of insecticides treated nets, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and case management as some of the interventions currently being implemented.
“Government with support from Global Fund, UNICEF and GAVI will this year distribute about 9 million nets. Our target is that at least to reach out to every Malawian where two people are going to share one net as one way of eliminating the disease,” said Chiponda.
The Minister on this point called upon communities to take responsibility of using the nets properly so that the country makes some gains so that by 2030 malaria should no longer be a health threat to the nation.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative Dr Janet Kayita said African region is being faced with a challenge of vector insecticide resistance which she said could compromise the effectiveness of interventions such as Insecticide Treated Nets and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and making the disease difficult to treat.
She therefore said there is need for an urgent action to be taken so as to stop the scourge of the disease and to get on track towards the global malaria goals of a 90 percent reduction in cases and deaths by 2030.
“As WHO, we are recommending the broad deployment of the world’s first malaria vaccine to reduce child illness and deaths from malaria in Sub Sharan and other regions,” she said.
She added, “the long awaited vaccine is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control. Using this vaccine in addition to existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year”.
World Vision Malawi Chief of Party for Global Fund Grants Dr Biziwick Mwale appreciated by SADC member states for ensuring that comprehensive approaches around education , prevention, diagnosis and treatment have been sustained during the COVID 19 pandemic.
He called upon communities to receiveand use mosquito nets properly and make sure that they spray their houses in a bid to eliminate malaria in the country.
Every year, second week of November is designated as the malaria week for SADC. This year’s theme is Community Involvement is Key to achieving zero malaria, with a slogan of Together we can defeat malaria.