Jan 15, 2020, 1:30 PM
Despite the worldwide burden of malaria, significant progress has been made in The Gambia’s programme with an overall reduction in the child mortality rate of 17 per cent in 2010, he added.
Mr Kandeh was speaking yesterday during the official launching of the Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) project at the Paradise Suites Hotel.
The forum, described as an inception seminar, brought together various stakeholders within and outside the Ministry of Health, and was organised by the NMCP under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) in collaboration with CRS.
The SMC is a three-year pilot project within CRR and URR, andits objectives include to administer a complete treatment course of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine sp plus amodiaquine aq to children at intervals, beginning at the start of the transmission season for a period of four months, so as to reduce the malaria burden.
According to Mr Kandeh, the initiative had clearly demonstrated the level of partnership established over the years by the Ministry of Health and the NMCP.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare enjoys a broad range of partnerships across all sectors of the society, including the media houses, community-based organization and civil society organizations, he said.
Controlling and preventing malaria requires a collaborative effort from all sectors of the society, and no single person or unit could do it alone, Kandeh added.
Therefore, every one of them could help in advocacy and social mobilization campaigns as efforts are made against combating the disease, he went on.
According to Mr Kandeh, malaria is a major public health problem, with an estimated burden of 216 million clinical episodes and 655,000 deaths worldwide attributed to malaria in 2010.
He added that a significant proportion (91 per cent) of reported deaths from malaria occurs in sub-Saharan Africa, where children under 5 years of age bear most of the burden.
In 2010, it was estimated that 86 per cent of all malaria deaths occurred in this age group, he noted.
Kandeh said the SMC is recommended in areas of highly seasonal malaria transmission throughout the Sahel sub-region.
He thanked UNICEF and CRS for providing the funds for the implementation of this new strategy, and supporting them all the way.
He also thanked WHO and the media fraternity, particularly the Association of Health Journalists, for the partnership, as well as the Director of Health Services for all the support and technical guidance given to the NMCP over the years.
The Director of Health Services, Dr Samba Ceesay, said the launching of the SMC project is yet another national malaria control strategy, which demonstrated The Gambia’s renewed efforts to make progress toward preventing and controlling malaria.
He said reducing the impact of malaria is key to the achievement of the MDGs, especially MDGs 4, 5 and 6 and is in line with The Gambia’s Vision 2020 development blueprint.
Dr Ceesay said as they launch the SMC project, spearheaded by the Gambia CRS in collaboration with Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO and MRC, they must soberly reflect on the progress made and renew their collective efforts toward eventually eliminating malaria in The Gambia.
According to Dr Ceesay, the benefits of SMC would not yield great results without the full support of regional governors, district chiefs, village heads and extension workers in mobilizing the communities to support the project.