WHO Country Rep, Ndenzako called for political will pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)
By Tione Andsen
World Health Organization (WHO) has called for renewed political commitment to eliminate malaria and increase Government investments on malaria prevention and control.
WHO Representative to Malawi, Dr Fabian Ndenzako made the remarks recently at Magawa secondary school in Mchinji during the World Malaria Day commemoration whose theme was “Zero Malaria starts with me”,
He said there was need to mobilize all necessary internal and external resources and ensure inter-sectoral and cross-border collaboration.
Ndenzako said countries in the Region are continuing to carry out malaria testing and treatment of which Malawi is doing well.
“They are relying on preventive measures such the distribution and use of insecticide-treated nets as was successfully done last year by the government of Malawi and indoor spraying with insecticides as key strategies in combating malaria,” he noted.
A 2017 World Malaria report had revealed an increase of 3.5 million cases of malaria in the 10 highest burden African countries compared to 2016.
“To respond to the challenge of rising cases in high-burden countries and reverse these trends, a ‘high burden to high impact’ (HBHI) country-led approach was launched in November 2018,” Ndenzako added.
He said with support from WHO and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the response seeks to galvanize political will nationally and globally to reduce malaria deaths; it would use strategic information to drive impact and implement the best global guidance, policies and strategies for malaria-endemic countries, as well as coordinated country responses.
Ndenzako said there was need to accelerate progress as there are significant gaps in the implementation of measures to prevent malaria, and stagnating international and domestic funding for malaria prevention and control.
“Globally, there is significant progress in Malaria Response. The overall trend indicates that between 2010 and 2017, the estimated number of malaria new cases in the African Region, dropped from 206 million in 2010 to 200 million in 2017 and the number of malaria-related deaths fell from more than 550,000 to 400, 000,” he explained
WHO Representative stated that two countries in the Sub Saharan region, Ethiopia and Rwanda are among 20 countries globally that experienced a significant decrease in malaria cases by more than 20 per cent and deaths in 2017 compared to 2016.
He pointed out that half the people at risk of malaria across sub-Saharan Africa are now sleeping under insecticide-treated nets in 2017, as compared to 30 per cent in 2010; this is a clear indication of some success in behaviour change and outreach campaigns.
“This progress needs to be sustained,” Ndenzako appealed.
Secretary for Health, Dr Dan Namarika re-affirmed government’s commitment to continue funding Malaria control and prevention interventions in the country.
He expressed concern that the country does not have sufficient resources to fully implement Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) across the country.
“Let me thank United States Agency for International Development and Presidents Malaria Initiative (USAID/PMI) and Global Fund for their funding support for the IRS in NkhotaKota and Mangochi. We have five further IRS prioritized districts that are yet to be funded and are appealing to our development partners for further support,” Namarika said.
He appealed to our development partners to continue supporting our efforts to accelerate the malaria control in this country so that we could save many more lives.
World Malaria Day is commemorated on April 25 every year.