Dec 7, 2015, 10:31 AM
As part of commemorating World Malaria Day, the regional health team, in collaboration with Peace Corps, organised a daylong youth malaria song contest, a programme supported by Africell, a leading cell phone company in The Gambia.
The competition brought together a good number of youth groups from other parts of the region who participated in the malaria youth song contest, in which Bansang Youth Group came out winner, a programme held at Bansang Youth Centre in CRR South.
Speaking at the ceremony, Jankoba Jabbi, director of CRR Regional Health Team, said malaria is one of the most serious public health problems but also has negative impacts on social and economic development in The Gambia.
He stated that malaria is a contributing factor to Africa’s poor growth and development, noting that in The Gambia, malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children under five and pregnant women.
“It is also responsible for most school and work absenteeism,” he noted.
According to him, in countries were malaria is highly endemic, priority should be given to accelerating implementation of cost-effective interventions and strengthening surveillance, monitoring and evaluation systems to enable them to measure progress.
He noted that the benefits of scaling up interventions are already reaped in The Gambia with both financial and material support from Global Fund and with a strong political commitment and investment form The Gambia since 2004. Ousman Kambi, Health Promotion Officer at Regional Health Team, said the government through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and its numerous partners have developed and implemented series of strategies and initiatives geared towards reducing both morbidity and mortality related to malaria among people of all age groups with particular attention to children and pregnant women.
According to him, some of the intervention areas as outlined in the national malaria policy are malaria case management, prevention and control of malaria during pregnancy, seasonal malaria chemoprevention, integrated vector management, behaviour change communication/information education and communication, advocacy and partnership and social mobilization.
The interventions have contributed significantly to the reduction of both malaria-related mobility and mortality across all age groups in the country, he stated.
Malaria in pregnancy is among the major causes of poor pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight, still births, neonatal deaths, and maternal deaths, he said.
“Our prevention of malaria in pregnancy programme has registered a lot of success in reducing these poor pregnancy outcomes among women visiting health facilities,” he revealed.
Carlos Bass of CaDO said Long Lasting Insecticide-Treated Nets (LLINs) were distributed to the most vulnerable groups of the population to malaria infection. It was however one thing to get a net but another to use it effectively.
As part of the Integrated Vector Management Strategy, the National Malaria Control Programme of the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with roll back malaria partnership, a global framework for coordinated action against malaria, carried out a nationwide mosquito bed net distribution campaign.