Showing posts with label WHO. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WHO. Show all posts

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Let’s Join Hands to Fight off Malaria for Good

World Malaria Day 2010, Sunday April 25

A Message from African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN)

By the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Charity Binka

‘Let’s join hands to fight off malaria for good!’

It is here with us – again. The World Malaria Day is a sad, rude reminder that malaria, a preventable disease, continues to parade the world dealing a death blow to many African children and ravaging the resources of the continent.

The Day offers us another opportunity to ponder anew how a disease so primitive continues to reap a grim harvest. According to the World Health Organization’s statistics, more than a million deaths occur annually and more than 80% are estimated to occur in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly among children under five years old and pregnant women.

Despite these challenges, it is gratifying to note that there are many activities including control and preventive strategies coupled with research activities currently going on to support other interventions to contain the disease and eventually eradicate it.

Current control strategies on malaria include early diagnosis and prompt, effective treatment of malaria. There are also preventive activities through the use of insecticide-treated nets and other vector control measures such as residual indoor spraying and environmental management. Others areas are prevention of malaria in pregnancy and the development of new tools through research.

Vaccines, such as the candidate RTS,S are also part of the new tools being developed to deal a death blow to malaria. The INDEPTH Effectiveness and Safety Studies of Antimalarials in Africa (INESS) is also one of the innovative and unique initiatives which have also come on board to support other interventions. INESS is, for instance focusing on antimalarials to ensure their safety and effectiveness in and outside the general health systems in Africa.

These are great milestones we need to be proud of and to commend scientists, researchers and donors for their immense contribution towards the eradication of malaria.

While commending scientists, we want to appreciate Bill Gates for his contribution in funding research into malaria eradication. He is on record to have said: It‘s time to treat the malaria epidemic like the crisis it is. It is unacceptable that 3,000 children die every day from a largely preventable and treatable disease.

Indeed there is a missing link between the work of malaria researchers to tackle this present reality and media coverage of it that is begging to be bridged. It is amply demonstrated by the lack of sustainable media follow up on the Abuja Declaration Targets of60% of children under-5 and pregnant women sleeping under Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs) by 2005. The leaders also promised to reduce by25% of childhood fevers which will be correctly managed using IMCI. The Abuja Declaration Targets for 2010 are here with us.

The BIG question is: Can we, by the end of this year, be able to proudly say that the targets to reduce malaria morbidity (disease occurrence) by half (50%) of the 2000 levels and the reduction of malaria mortality (death rate) by 50% of the 2000 levels have been achieved?

Yes we can with commitment on the part of leaders. That is why we must applaud the mission of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest donor to malaria to work with partners around the world to reach a day when no human being would have malaria – the very purpose for which African Media and Malaria Research (AMMREN) was born. AMMREN’s major goal is to join hands with partner stakeholders towards the eradication of malaria.

AMMREN seeks to promote communication of malaria research outcomes/outputs and best practices in malaria eradication in Africa through strengthened collaboration between malaria researchers, journalists and stakeholders. AMMREN has a membership of over fifty journalists from 10 African countries: Burkina Faso, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania.

This year’s celebration of Malaria Day gives us another opportunity to re-strategise to push malaria out of Africa and the world. AMMREN associates itself with the statement by Bill Gates, the hero of our time that, “It‘s time to treat the malaria epidemic like the crisis it is. It is unacceptable that 3,000 children die every day from a largely preventable and treatable disease”. AMMREN has joined the campaign. This is a clarion call to all to sign up to help realize the goal: Let’s join hands to fight off malaria for good!

African governments must stand up and be counted as we enter the next phase to kick out malaria from the continent. They must not fail us. THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO.

Thank you.