WHO Calls for More Resources, Cross Border Collaboration on Malaria Free Africa

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Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on African countries to allocate more resources and strengthen cross border collaboration to achieve a malaria free Africa.

The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Wondi Alemu, made this call in Abuja while briefing journalists on the World Malaria Day 2018 with the theme: ‘Ready to Beat Malaria’.

Alemu noted that the World Malaria Day is an occasion to renew political commitment and continuous investment for malaria prevention and control.

The world malaria day is celebrated on April 25, focusing global attention on malaria and its devastating impact on families, communities and development.

He said: “We are calling on all African countries affected by malaria to work with development partners to boost investment in malaria prevention and control, especially new tools to combat malaria.

“It will propel countries along the road to elimination to continue in contributing to the achievement of other sustainable development goals, such as improving maternal and child health.”

The WHO Country Representative however, noted that countries in African region also recorded the biggest rise of malaria testing in the public sector from 36 per cent of suspected cases in 2010 to 87 per cent in 2016.

He said five countries in the region (Ethiopia, Madagascar, Senegal, Gambia and Zimbabwe,) are among 16 global countries that witnessed a decrease in malaria cases and deaths by more than 20 per cent over 2015 and 2016.

Alemu while speaking on the role of insecticides treated nets in combating malaria said that “over half of the people at risk of malaria across sub-Saharan Africa have been sleeping under insecticides treated nets for the past five years indicating some success in behavior change, and outreach campaigns.”

He also stated that many countries are not on track to achieve the target of the global technical strategy for malaria.
“The pace of progress has slowed down, with significant gaps in the implementation of measures to prevent malaria .International and domestic funding for malaria prevention and control has stagnated,” he said.

Speaking further, Alemu said Nigeria has made considerable progress in the fight against malaria with the introduction of Artemisinin based combination therapy, with no major reaction to the drug.

“We found out that ACTS therapy is more functional and effective in treating malaria than chloroquine tablets which is no longer advised for malaria treatment.”
The African countries have made commitment to end malaria epidermic by 2030 as one of the sustainable development goals.

The president said the turnout was encouraging, noting that the Chief of the Community declared the medical outreach opened by taking the lead in getting tested and screened for HIV, prostate cancer and also Fasting Blood Sugar, so that his community members would do same.

Other services provided during the outreach include; breast cancer screening/counseling; Cervical screening; de-worming; tetanus vaccination; vitamin A supplementation; family planning, general consultation, among others.

Also, the Team Lead of the Project, Dr. Anslem Chukwuma, said the focus was on prostate cancer which is one of the leading causes of death among Nigerian men, saying that though there is no official statistics of men that have been lost to prostate cancer in Nigeria.

However, the Chief of Kabusa, Etsu Yohana Goje expressed his gratitude to JCI for selecting his community for the outreach, while also promising to mobilise his people in order to take the advantage of the outreach.