Gambia & Senegal mark historic cross-border Malaria Day celebration

Monday, May 06, 2019

A new hope was ignited in the fight against malaria in Gambia and Senegal when the Health ministries of the two countries conducted an historic joint celebration of World Malaria Day at Senegal’s border village of Kerr Ayip, on the theme: Zero Malaria Starts with Me.

The celebration was matched with the official launch of the 2019 synchronised mass distribution of long-lasting impregnated mosquito net campaign which targets to dole out over 11 million mosquito nets.

Health ministers of both countries and other officials including heads of international agencies in the fight against malaria, students and Gambian and Senegalese communities attended the celebration.

The Gambia uses an Integrated Vector Management strategy for malaria control and prevention. As outlined in the National Malaria Strategic plan, they include long lasting treated nets, indoor residual spraying, larviciding and environmental management.

Gambia’s health minister Dr. Momodou Lamin Samateh said the ministry is now embarking on a new era in the fight against malaria, saying the experience of synchronizing the campaign is significant. “Efforts to end malaria can be accelerated by improving research and collaboration between countries and institutions.”

Minister Samateh said Gambia will continue to show utmost commitment and dedication in the fight against the disease, saying malaria is a common enemy that requires global effort to fight.

Health minister of Senegal, Abdoulie Diouf Sarr, praised the Senegambia relationship, saying the two sides are partnering to fight against a common enemy that killed many of their people, particularly children.

North Bank region governor, Ebrima K. Dampha, noted the event signifies the bond of neighbourhood that exists between Gambia and Senegal, saying they are two countries but the same people. He said the fight against malaria requires transitional efforts from all sides. “We can all play our role in this crusade as individuals.”

Ms. Julia, representative of USAID said this it was historic occasion in the fight against malaria, saying USAID is proud to support the campaign against the mosquito-carrier disease. “As the fight against malaria becomes a greater challenge, it can only be addressed through a united front.”

Ms. Julia encouraged all players in the fight against malaria to maintain a steady commitment to make the disease history in both Senegal and The Gambia.

In 2017, Senegal registered 1% malaria prevalence rate for children under five years and Gambia registered a staggering reduction rate of 0.4%. In Senegal, the 2016 continuous DHS showed that under-five mortality continued to fall from 121 death per 1, 000 live births in 2005 to 51 in 2016 while in The Gambia, it continued to fall from an estimated 98 deaths per 1, 000 live births in 2005 to 64 in 2017.

Global Fund regional director Nicolas Cantan said since 2003, they have been making efforts to synchronise the sub-region in the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. Mr. Cantan said they will continue to maintain commitment in the fight against human health threatening diseases.

Catholic Relief Service’s (CRS) country director for Gambia and Senegal, Carla Fujardo, said trans-border partnership between The Gambia and Senegal in the fight against malaria will greatly contribute to the elimination of the disease. “Malaria is an enemy that requires to be seriously fought to end its death rate in world.”

Author: Amadou Jallow