international investment and a strong Gambian-led campaign, the country has
seen a significant drop in the prevalence of malaria and of new infections of
the disease, a media release by a consortium of international NGOs has indicated.
a prevalence of only 0.2 per cent, The Gambia can now see a clear path to ‘no
new cases’ of malaria by the year 2020, said the Catholic Relief Services
(CRS), and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the US
Embassy in Banjul.
are proud that The Gambia has made major strides in its fight against malaria,”
said Ms Saffie Lowe Ceesay, the Gambia’s health minister. “With the ongoing
support of the international community, elimination of the disease is now
within sight – a first for a sub-Saharan African country.”
According to statistics, Gambia’s landmark
achievements in malaria control and prevention include: malaria parasitic
prevalence decreased by 95 per cent, from 4 per cent in 2010 to 0.2 per cent in
2014, and malaria infections fell by 50 per cent across all regions between
2011 and 2016.
With support from The Global Fund, the Gambian
government and CRS have been working together to eliminate malaria for more
than a decade.
nearly 2 million people in the last year alone, the work has included a broad
range of prevention and control methods such as ensuring access and proper use
of bed-nets; spraying walls with insecticides; and ensuring rapid diagnosis,
followed by proper treatment.
2014, CRS began using seasonal malarial chemoprevention to help prevent malaria
in children under the age of 5.
“Now is not the time to stop or even slow our
work,” said Annemarie Reilly, CRS’ chief of staff and executive vice president
of strategy and organizational development. “We know that the last mile will be
the hardest, and that the disease can come back. But, with international
support, we can make history.”
In 2015, there were approximately 212 million
cases of malaria worldwide. Nearly half
a million people died, most of them children.
In The Gambia, all of the major stakeholders
say that more international investment is needed to be able to fully eradicate
“By wiping out malaria we can raise up an
entire community — a country even,” said Mr Abdoulie Mam Njie, executive
secretary of the country coordinating mechanism of The Global Fund.
are interested in not only sustaining the gains we’ve made so far, but in
securing additional resources to win the battle against this deadly disease.”
Ms. C. Patricia Alsup, the US Ambassador to
The Gambia, added: “We know elimination is possible, but more resources are
needed to achieve this milestone. We need continued bilateral support from
partners, donors and the government alike.”