Mar 13, 2009, 5:35 AM
is good news that The Gambia is today celebrating progress made towards malaria
elimination in the country, as declared in a recent collaborative workshop
involving The Gambia Government, the U.S. Embassy, Catholic Relief Services
(CRS) and the Global Fund.
Through international investment and a strong Gambia-led campaign, there has been a significant drop in the prevalence of malaria and of new infections of the disease, according to reports from the workshop.
Reasons advanced for this development stride are that with substantial support from international institutions and the Gambia government, services have been brought closer to the communities, which attracted and mobilized communities to utilize the services and also adopt behaviours and practices that prevent infection, such as consistent sleeping under insecticide treated nets.”
Despite the successes gained, the health minister said, there are still challenges facing The Gambia’s ability to completely eliminate malaria.
While we are much happy to note that we are a success story to be emulated, we believe we should not rest on our laurels. As the health minister said, there are still challenges facing our society. Some of these challenges may start with how clean we continue to keep our environment, to prevent filth, rubbish and still or stinky pothole water on our streets.
We are beginning to sense a spirit of laxity in maintaining the regular national cleansing exercise (set settal) we have been used to over the recent years, which must have contributed immensely to the progress and good result in malaria elimination we are celebrating today. The regular cleansing exercise needs to be maintained, as we are humans, and as we live we generate dirt and rubbish around us, which provide breeding ground for mosquitoes and other harmful insects as well as all sorts of pathogens.
We therefore need to be alive and kicking in the upkeep of our environment to prevent filth and still water that would create malaria vectors and dangerous pathogens that could harm our lives and render us unhealthy.
More so, we have seasonal rains that filled our bad roads with waters that get still and stink in the spattering potholes, rain-made wells and streams on our roads and streets, thereby continually providing safe haven for mosquitoes that transmit malaria.
We therefore cannot afford to rest on our laurels and think that malaria is gone. It is not; so let's keep up with our set settal.
“Health is wealth”