Accelerate action to Eliminate Malaria- WHO to African leaders

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The World Health Organization is urging member States to allocate adequate resources and to work across sectors and strengthen cross-border collaboration in the African region towards Malaria Elimination.

The WHO Regional African Director, Dr Matshiditso Moeti said there is need to accelerate action to achieve a malaria free region.

She stated this in a message to mark the World Malaria day celebration. The WHO Acting Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr Clement Peters who read the message on behalf of the Regional Director stressed the urgency to end malaria for good, and also  for a healthier and more prosperous Africa.

She therefore called for renewed political commitment to eliminate Malaria and  increased investments on malaria prevention and control.

“We will help communities and economies to thrive by eliminating malaria. Empowering individuals and communities and engaging them to adopt and deploy simple and cost-effective interventions is key in filling existing implementation gaps. We must also accelerate the pace of progress if we are to achieve a 40% drop in global malaria cases and deaths by 2020, compared to 2015 levels.”

“It will propel countries along the road to elimination and contribute to the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals, such as improving maternal and child health. We 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.”

The health body disclosed that it is utilizing strategic information to drive impact and implement the best global guidance, policies and strategies for malaria endemic countries, as well as coordinated country responses.

“In order to respond to the challenge of rising cases in high-burden countries and reverse the trends, a ‘high burden to high impact’ (HBHI) country-led approach was launched in November 2018.  Supported by WHO and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. The response seeks to galvanize political will nationally and globally to reduce malaria deaths; it will also 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”.

Moeti pointed out  that the estimated number of new cases of malaria in the African Region cases dropped from 206 million in 2010 to 200 million in 2017.

“The number of malaria-related deaths fell from 555,000 to 403,000. Two countries in the Region (Ethiopia and Rwanda) are among 20 countries globally that experienced a significant decrease in malaria cases (by more than 20%) and deaths in 2017 compared to 2016.  

‘Countries in the Region are continuing to carry out malaria testing and treatment and also relying on preventive measures such as the distribution and use of insecticide-treated nets and indoor spraying with insecticides as key strategies in combatting malaria. Half the people at risk of malaria across sub-Saharan Africa are now sleeping under insecticide-treated nets in 2017, as compared to 30% in 2010, indicating some success in behaviour change and outreach campaigns. This progress needs to be sustained.”

The theme for this year’s commemoration of World Malaria Day, “Zero Malaria Starts with me”, reiterates the need to empower individuals across the world to make a personal commitment to saving more lives.

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