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Gambia Hosts W/African Malaria regional network meeting

Oct 13, 2011, 3:22 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The Gambia is playing host to the West African Malaria Control’s annual review and planning meeting co-organised by WAHO, UNICEF and other WARN partners. 

The meeting, which brought together participants from countries in the sub-region, is being held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the minister of Health and Social Welfare, Fatim Badjie, said the Gambia government is deeply honoured to host “this important meeting as malaria remains to be a major public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa”.

According to her, the Gambia government is highly committed to malaria control and prevention as it is an active member of all regional and sub-regional malaria networks.

The health minister added that The Gambia coordinates the malaria component of Health for Peace Malaria Initiative (HPI) and is also the current alternate RBM board member for the sub-region.

According to Minister Badjie, malaria remains to be a disease that takes its heaviest toll on the poor and vulnerable population, and world leaders have adopted eight comprehensive, time-bound goals to improve the state of the world by 2015 and six of the eight MDGs for 2015 either fully or partially relate to malaria control.

Minister Badjie said: “Many countries, including The Gambia, are attaining high coverage of their populations with key and effective malaria interventions such as insecticide treated nets (ITNS), intermitted preventive treatment in pregnant women (IPT), access to prompt and effective treatment for malaria, and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), which is ongoing and championed by President Jammeh.”

She said that the successes in the fight against malaria largely came as a result of a new approach involving a broard range of partners coming together in a common cause and this is essentially what WARN and other partners seek to continue to achieve, she noted.

Minister Badjie, further urged all partners to redouble their efforts in the fight against malaria by nurturing and strengthening the RBM partnership.

For her part, programme manager of National Malaria Control, Madam Adam Jagne Sonko, said in the half of the past decade, with little investments in malaria prevention, little was achieved, however a significant increase in malaria funding since 2006 had resulted in a substantial increase in the number of children’s lives being saved.

Mrs Sonko thanked the Gambia government for creating the enabling environment for this meeting to be held in the country.

She also thanked WARN and partners for organizing the meeting in Banjul.

The director-general of WAHO, Dr Placido .M. Cardoso, told the gathering to continue strengthening partnership to roll back malaria.