World Malaria Day: WHO urge African countries to pay attention to common diseases like Malaria even as they look forward to fighting COVID-19 pandemic

President Uhuru Kenyatta, ALMA chair. Image|Courte

As the world marks Malaria Day, African countries have been urged to strengthen cross border collaboration in the fight against malaria.

In his message, World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Mdeti said countries should allocate more resources in the fight against Malaria.

“To build on the gains we have made, I urge countries to allocate resources to work across sector and strengthen cross border collaboration to control Malaria,” said Dr. Mdeti.

The director added that countries should not forget common diseases such as Malaria, even as they fight the global coronavirus pandemic.

Malaria kills over 400,000 people across the world, and 94% of these deaths comes from Africa, with 67% accounting to vulnerable groups and children under five years of age.

Africa recorded over 213 million Malaria cases in 2018, accounting to 93% of the world cases.

In 2019, the world’s first Malaria vaccine (RTS, S) pilot tests were launched in the countries of Kenya, Ghana and Malawi, with over 275,000 children receiving the vaccine.

“This action is commendable but we are failing short on the 2020 milestone of 40% reduction in cases of deaths,” warned the director.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) has advocated for high level engagement at the national, regional and continental levels on malaria commitments and goals.

The president called upon African leaders and governments to incorporate youths and technology in the fight against Malaria.

“I call upon African head of states and governments to leverage on data technology to target efforts more efficiently and effectively, empowering youths to participate in Malaria control initiative, accelerating mobilization to domestic resources and engaging communities across the continent in the fight against Malaria,” said President Uhuru.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe in his message, said the government is committed to ensuring continuity of health services in its facilities and at community level.

“The safety of our health workers and client is paramount since any disruption is essential health services can have a serious impact on rates of illness and deaths from common diseases like Malaria,” said CS Mutahi.

The theme for this year is ‘Zero Malaria starts with me’.

 

See also: Government urged to stand firm in effort to implement Tobacco control policy

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