Zambia hailed for malaria drive

Sanday Chongo Kabange | 22 Mar 2010
AfricaNews
Zambian health experts recently shared their successes in the fight against malaria with colleagues from across the continent during a three-day brainstorming session held in the Ghanaian capital Accra. During the United Against Malaria (UAM) conference, Zambia was hailed as a global leader in malaria control.

Zambia's National Malaria Control Centre principal information, education and communication officer Pauline Wamulume, who led the local delegation, vowed that the nation would not become complacent in its efforts to control malaria.

"Now is not the time to back down but to keep the pressure on. By doing so we are confident that we will win the fight against malaria," said Wamulume, who outlined the National Malaria Control Centre's plans to raise awareness surrounding World Malaria Day in this April.

She joined health professionals from 11 African countries, who met to discuss progress and strategy for the UAM campaign.

Progress

In Zambia, work is progressing on a television public service announcement, while corporate partners such as water bottling firm, Manzi Valley is to publish the latest in a series of children's colouring books that feature the campaign.

According to officials in Zambia, there are a series of events planned for World Malaria Day on April 25, and a number of other initiatives are in the pipeline.

UAM leverages the energy and passion of football to communicate important messages about the treatment and prevention of malaria, driving Zambia's goal of reaching the 2010 target of universal access to treated bed nets and malaria medicine, a crucial first step to reaching the international target of reducing deaths to near zero by 2015.

United Against Malaria is being launched in countries across Africa in the run-up to next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Situation

Malaria is endemic in all nine provinces of Zambia, accounting for around a third of all hospital visits and having a major impact on families, the economy and the health system.

The Zambian government has made malaria prevention and control a national priority and has intensified its scale-up of interventions in recent years. Over seven million insecticide-treated bed nets (ITN), one of the best methods to prevent malaria, have been distributed nationwide.

Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is now conducted in half of Zambia's 72 districts. Through these interventions, as well as nationwide access to testing and treatment, Zambia has recorded remarkable progress reducing the burden of malaria.

Partnerships

Global partners include the Gates Foundation with support from the United Nations Foundation, Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the One Campaign, Malaria No More, PATH, PSI, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Comic Relief.

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