Gambia: Malaria remains top public health challenge in Gambia, says minister

25 Feb 2010
Afrique en ligne
Gambian Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Abubacarr Gaye, has said that malaria remains a top public health challenge in The Gambia, indicating that the government is committed to preventing and controlling the disease.

Speaking at opening on Wednesday of a workshop for the joint Islamic Development Bank/Government of The Gambia Malaria Project, Dr. Gaye noted that the government had made significant progress in the implementation of malaria prevention and control activities and therefore, required sustained political will, partnership and commitment to consolidate the gains made so far.

He further said the government intended to reach malaria pre-elimination stage by 2015, saying that the strategy to achieve this target was to increase coverage and consolidate the gains made through the use of the most effective, available and evidence-based interventions that meet international standards.

"An integral approach to malaria control is being used focusing mainly on preventive and control strategies through widespread universal access to Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets (LLINs), prompt and effective case management, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy (IPTp), and evidenced-based Information, Education and Behavioral Change Communication (IEBCC)," he stated.

According to him, The Gambia had registered over the years a general decline in malaria cases by 85.5 per cent, while hospital admissions due to malaria had also dropped by 74 per cent and malaria attributed deaths by 90 percent.

Mrs. Adma Jagne Sonko, the acting manager, National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), said The Gambia had made significant progress in the implementation of the malaria prevention and control strategies.

The NMCP under the Ministry of Health, she said, had been provided the leading role in malaria control and prevention efforts and would always work closely with partners at all levels to achieve the set targets.

According to her, malaria prevention and control should be the business of every one in the country.

"We all need to mobilise all available means to control malaria. Together we can combat and win," she remarked.

Sambu Conteh, the project manager, Project Implementation Unit (PIU), said: "sometime in 2008, a project proposal for malaria prevention and control with a budget and work plan was developed in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, IDB and partners following the project appraisal and a loan agreement to the tune of US$ 3 million was signed between the IDB and the government of The Gambia in April 2009".

The project, according to him, will be executed within 24 months and the executing agency is the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and the (NMCP).

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