The campaign will be carried out by the National Malaria Control Programme (NCMP) of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with Roll Back Malaria Partnership, a global framework for coordinated action against malaria.
Speaking at a news conference, Adam Jagne-Sonko, head of NMCP said the one million long-lasting insecticides treated nets to be distributed is in response to Gambia’s target of eliminating malaria by 2020. “Malaria must be viewed as a development priority and must be tackled at every level and at every opportunity. The Malaria Control Strategic Plan (2014-2020) has already been developed with the goal to reduce the incidence of infection caused by malaria parasites to zero in The Gambia by 2020,” she outlined.
“Our policy outlines seven core intervention areas, including malaria case management, prevention and control of malaria during pregnancy, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, integrated vector management, BCC/IEC, advocacy partnership and social mobilisation.”
According to her, malaria remains a major public health problem globally, despite it being both preventable and curable.
“In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627,000 deaths (mostly among African children). In 2012, malaria cases were estimated at 207 million globally; vast majority of cases and deaths occur in Africa (90%),” she added. Malaria, she lamented, is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children and pregnant women in The Gambia.
Ms Jagne-Sonko said World Malaria Day offers a chance to shine the spotlight on the global efforts to malaria control as well as a call to attention to the need to meet the 2015 MDGs and defeat malaria.
Also speaking at the news conference, the World Health Organisation Banjul representative, Dr Charles Sages Moses, who read the joint statement issued by WHO and UNICEF, in support of the World Malaria Day, said: “Leadership, partnership and commitment are critical to maintaining the gains made against malaria in the Gambia as well as other parts of the world.”
Dr Moses said the battle against malaria is not yet over despite significant strides against the disease over the years. He reiterated UN system’s commitment to supporting The Gambia in consolidating and expanding the gains made against malaria.
Chief public health officer, Sanna Jawara, said: “With significant increase in access to malaria control interventions, overall mortality rates [in Gambia] have fallen by 32% in 2013. Malaria incidence has been reduced by 85.5%; admission due to malaria has dropped by 74% and malaria attributed death dropped by 90%.”
The Gambia will join the world to celebrate World Malaria Day on April 25. This year’s national commemoration will be held in the Upper River Region village of Taibatou.
By Sainey Marenah]]>