Posted on | april 26, 2012 | No Comments
An estimated 3 million lives can be saved between now and 2015, if the global malaria community remains focused on its 2015 targets for near-zero malaria deaths. On World Malaria Day RBM partners cross Africa held commemorations to spotlight the progress made so far and stress the need for increased political and financial support for malaria control a the national level.
A photo exhibition – Malaria: Blood, Sweat, and Tears, conceived and produced by the Malaria Consortium and photojournalist, Adam Nadel to highlight the history, science and global impact of malaria opened last week in Accra, Ghana to mark the country’s successes in the fight against malaria on World Malaria Day. The exhibition has toured major world capitals and cities, including New York, Washington and Geneva. It will also open in Paris at the Hôtel de Ville on 18 May 2012.
In Nigeria, a country report, documenting the successes of national efforts to combat malaria was launched under the RBM Progress and Impact Series.
Between 2004 and 2010, Nigeria allocated US$ 600 million in external funding to malaria control and succeeded in saving 166 000 lives, despite the country’s large size, its dense population, and its socio-economic and political complexity.
To hinder the development of drug resistance, Nigeria has banned artemisinin monotherapies for the treatment of malaria since 2008 and has made steps towards closely monitoring the sensitivity of currently used antimalarials and insecticides.
In an effort to track progress towards its 2015 goals, Tanzania has just released a report on its national efforts to control malaria.
The country has mobilized more than US$ 450 million in external funding between 2003 and 2010 and has succeeded in reducing overall child mortality by 50% between 2000 and 2010.
An estimated 63,000 Tanzanian children under the age of five have been saved over the same period thanks to the scale-up of malaria control interventions such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, access to rapid diagnostic tests and effective treatment with ACTs.
In the DR Congo, the government has kick-started large-scale mass distribution of LLINs in the region of Katanga where nearly 5.5 million nets will be distributed.
In addition, about 12 millions LLINs will be distributed in the provinces of North and South Kivu, Bandundu and Equateur. The campaign targets mostly risk populations in remote areas. Each year, malaria kills 180,000 children under the age of five in DRC, which makes it the leading cause of child death in the country.
Despite significant progress made over the past years, access to malaria interventions remains difficult especially for people living in remote areas.
Meanwhile NightWatch, a communications program developed by Malaria No More and Lalela Project, is expanding to include Chad and Tanzania; this is in addition to Cameroon and Senegal, where successful pilot programs launched last year.
NightWatch is an innovative health communications program that aims to increase the utilization of malaria control tools, such as mosquito nets, in communities across Africa through targeted messages that air nightly at 9 p.m. on radio, television, and text messages. The simple message – “It’s 9p.m., are you and your family sleeping under your mosquito nets?” – is delivered by the most recognized and respected voices in each country, including politicians, musicians, athletes, and religious leaders.
The Chad program kicked off on April 21, with the help of the Ministry of Health of Chad, as part of the national “Stop Palu” (Stop Malaria) campaign. Leading partners ExxonMobil and its in-country affiliate ESSO, along with the cell phone company Airtel, are lending their private sector support to help ensure that every family knows how they can protect themselves and help their communities fight malaria.
“NightWatch’s success demonstrates how an innovative program can impact the fight against malaria,” said Suzanne McCarron, president, ExxonMobil Foundation. “We look forward to its success in reaching new families, and making a difference in the lives of so many in Chad and Tanzania.”
In Tanzania, a NightWatch launch event was held on April 22. The new Tanzania program complements Malaria No More’s existing communications campaign, “Zinduka!,” which means “Wake Up,” and integrates top musicians into the nightly bed net reminder messages. This campaign is in partnership with United Against Malaria and Tanzania’s Ministry of Health. Distributed through national television and radio, the nightly messages will reach over 35 million Tanzanians.
“The rapid expansion of NightWatch shows the commitment these countries have made to stopping malaria deaths on the continent,” said CEO of Malaria No More David Bowen. “This program wouldn’t be possible without the strong partnership of leading corporations in Africa, including ExxonMobil, which shares our goal of ending malaria deaths.”
NightWatch recently won top recognition at the World Petroleum Congress for social responsibility.
AUTHOR: Henry Neondo
URL: http:// www.africasciencenews.org
E-MAIL: neondohenry [at] yahoo.com