The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in collaboration with Speak up Africa and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) last Friday held a day-long media briefing on Seasonal Malaria Chemo-prevention (SMC).
SMC is additional malaria prevention and control strategy that includes the administration of Sulphadoxne pyrimethamine (SP/Fansidar) and Amodiaqunw to children aged 3-59 months of the high malaria transmission season. The project, which was introduced in the country two years ago, is supported by UNICEF and has contributed to the decline of malaria.
Speaking at the briefing, the Minister of Minister of Health, Hon. Omar Sey said the project will enhance prevention and control of malaria existence as encapsulated in the 2014-2020 National Malaria Policy and Strategic Plan.
“The Malaria Consortium, CRS (as the lead sub-recipient) worked with the National Malaria Control Programmes in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and The Gambia on a joint proposal to address public health and market issues around SMC,” he informed, adding that this project will target the seven aforementioned countries in west and central Africa.
For his part, the Director of Health Services, Dr. Momodou Lamin Waggeh, said malaria remains a serious public health problem amongst youth, noting that a global figure of 260 million had clinical episodes annually, of which 665 thousand deaths worldwide were recorded, out of which 91% deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
He added that 86% of the deaths are children under five. Most of the childhood mortality and mobility, he said, occurred during the rainy season. “WHO has recommended interventions to combat malaria such as the use of long lasting insecticide nets, indoor residual spray, intermittent preventive treatment, and recently with changing epidemiology of malaria,” he added.
Dr Waggeh noted that based on these evidences, the WHO has recommended an additional intervention against plasmodium fansidar malaria. He said this intervention proved to be very effective, safe and feasible to prevent malaria for children under five years.
Balla Kandeh, Programme Manager, NMCP said malaria is a disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes and also caused by plasmodium fansidar. “We have had a lot of interventions and strategies such as cast management, spraying, long lasting insecticide treated nets, partnership and coordination, surveillance and monitoring amongst others.”
He informed the media that in 2010, they conducted a data survey to determine the level of malaria in the country which stood at 4% countrywide. He said in 2014, another survey was conducted and resulted with 0.2% cases. This, he added indicates the level they have gone in terms of prevalence rate performance of malaria in the country.
by Arfang MS Camara