Gambia celebrates Africa malaria day

Sunday, April 29, 2007
Hundreds of people on Wednesday April 25 converged at Mamudfana Village in Niamina East, Central River Region to commemorate the annual Africa Malaria Day on the theme: Free Africa from malaria now.

The commemoration started with a match pass by school children, voluntary organisations and cultural groups.
Deputising for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Tamsir Mbowe, the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Saihou Janneh, said malaria infection in pregnancy accounts for up to a quarter of cases of severe maternal anaemia. He added that malaria also accounts for an additional 10 per cent of neonatal and infant death.

Mr Janneh further noted that the effects of malaria is immense as it caused 4 per cent of infant death, adding that 25 per cent of the deaths in children ranges between 1-4 years.

“DoSH will continue to provide access to effective malaria treatment and support to strengthen the prevention and control of malaria in The Gambia,” he assured.

Malang Fofana, the Manager National Malaria Control Programme said, malaria reduces school attendance, productivity and the most vulnerable and the poor. Mr Fofana further said 60% of those suffering from malaria have access to prompt and effective treatment.

Mr Fofana said 60 per cent of pregnant women and children under 15 have access to insecticide treated bednets. He louded President Jammeh’s operation clean the nation as a clear manifestation of his government commitment to eradicate malaria in The Gambia.

For his part, Nestor Shivute, the World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative in The Gambia, said the celebration is meant to provide a way to combat malaria. The WHO boss called for a strong leadership and partnership in the fight against malaria. Dr Shivute urged the people of Central River Region to redouble their commitment in the fight against malaria.

He said malaria is cost Africa US$12 million annually and the Global Fund alone has provided 18 million insecticide treated bed nets in 2006.

Deputising for the Unicef Country Representative, Mathew Baldeh, official of Unicef, said Unicef is committed to the fight against malaria at all cost. Unicef, according to him, will take a leading role in this crusade.

Also speaking at the ceremony, Momodou Katim Touray, Deputy Governor of Central River Region said malaria continues to be a burden in the health care delivery system in The Gambia.

Mr Touray then commended Nyaama, a civil society group in Central River Region for their participation. He encouraged the effective use of insecticide treated nets to curb malaria cases.

The programme was also attended by officials of the Centre for Innovation Against Malaria and the CRS.
Author: Written by Buya Jammeh
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper