23 C
City of Banjul
Tuesday, September 22, 2020

‘Combating malaria key to MDGs, Vision 2020′

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Dr Samba Ceesay made these remarks yesterday while launching the ‘National Seasonal Malaria Chemo-Prevention’ programme on behalf of the Minister of Health at the Paradise Suite Hotel in Kololi. “As we launched this project spearheaded by The Gambia Catholic Relief Service in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Unicef, WHO and MRC, we must soberly reflect on the progress made and renew our collective efforts towards eventually eliminating malaria,” he said. He noted that in The Gambia, simple cost effective interventions to the prevention and control of malaria exist as encapsulated in the 2014 to 2020 malaria policy and strategic plan. “These are early diagnosis and prompt treatment using anti-malarial, prevention of malaria during pregnancy, and the usage of long lasting insecticide treated nets,” he added. Balla Kandeh, programme manager for the National Malaria Control Programme said the control and prevention of malaria requires a collaborative effort from all sectors of the society, adding that no single person or unit can do it alone. “Malaria remains a major public health problem with an estimated burden of 216 million clinical episodes and 655,000 deaths worldwide attributed to malaria,” he added. According to him, despite the worldwide burden of malaria, significant progress has been made in The Gambia by the National Malaria Control Programme with an overall reduction of child mortality rate. “Malaria incidences have been reduced by 85.5 percent, admissions due to malaria have dropped by 74 percent and malaria attributed deaths dropped by 90 percent,” he said. Huja Jah, project manager at SMC said the project aims to reduce approximately 75 percent of all uncomplicated and severe malaria cases in The Gambia especially in the targeted areas of Central River Region and Upper River Region respectively. “In The Gambia, 90, 244 children age 3 to 59 months will be targeted in 2015 and this number is expected to double in 2016,” she revealed. Meanwhile, this project will also target other countries in West and Central Africa namely, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia. UNITAID, a global health initiative hosted by the WHO in Geneva are the sponsors of the project.

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