Apr 17, 2009, 7:28 AM
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare Hon.Fatim Badjie on Tuesday launched the 2011 Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) Campaign at the regional Governor’s office in Janjanbureh.
The two-week campaign was funded by the Global Fund Malaria grant.
Already, the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) has trained 300 youths, who have been deployed in the villages to carry out the spraying.
Delivering her keynote address on the occasion, Minister Badjie stated that the burden posed by malaria goes beyond the health sector alone, and thus called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders.
The local authorities, communities and other sectors of government and NGOs all have a role to play, she said.
According to the Health Minister, the Indoor Residual Spraying exercise was introduced in The Gambia in 2008, following the procurement of the insecticide by President Yahya Jammeh, who has always considered health as a top priority of his government.
She added that these demonstrates the highest level of political commitment, and the love the President has for the country.
She pointed out that the integrated and comprehensive implementation of these strategies throughout the country has contributed to a drastic reduction in malaria burden in The Gambia.
The Health minister stressed that admissions due to malaria have dropped by 74% and malaria attributable deaths also reduced by 90%.
She said indoor residual spraying is the application of a long-acting chemical insecticide on the inner walls and roofs of dwelling houses and animal shelters, where possible, in order to kill adult mosquito vectors that land and rest on these surfaces.
Minister Badjie noted that the spraying reduces the life span of the mosquito, and it can make them no longer to transmit the malaria parasite from person to person.
She added that the 2011 IRS exercise in The Gambia is an important activity to the government and the Ministry of Health, as malaria is recognized as an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the country.
“As such, it poses a huge challenge to economic growth and development,” she lamented.
The minister appealed to the district chiefs and alkalos in the region to give support to the spraying team, during the course of the exercise, in order to make their work successful.
She finally thanked the people of Central River Region through the regional Governor for hosting the launching of the IRS Campaign 2011.
Baba Njie the regional health director for CRR, in a statement, said The Gambia has made a lot of gains in malaria prevention and control, and has put in place the right strategies to reduce malaria in the country. However, he noted that despite all these, there are still challenges which needed to be overcome by the country.
In his welcome address, CRR Governor Ganyi Touray assured the health authorities that the spraying would be successful in the region.
Other speakers at the ceremony were the deputy Governor Lower River Region Majanko Samusa, and the ceremony was chaired by the Director of Health Services, Dr Mamady Cham.
Meanwhile, a similar exercise will be conducted in North Bank and Lower River Regions after the CRR spaying.