World Bank praises Zambia's malaria intervention

Mutale Kapekele Kombe Chimpinde | 01 May 2011
The Post Online
World Bank president Robert Zoellick and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf have praised Zambia for slashing cases of malaria by close to 50 per cent since 2006.

Meanwhile, World Vision Zambia says there is need for multiple interventions towards achieving the goal of making Zambia a Malaria free country.

Zoellick and President Sirleaf told the Huffington Post last week that Zambia was one of the 11 African countries that had made headways in fighting the deadly malaria.

"We have encouraging news out of Africa this week of World Malaria Day, as we take stock of the illness and death caused by this long time scourge," Zoellick said. "Eleven countries in Africa had slashed the number of confirmed malaria cases, malaria-related hospital admissions or deaths by more than 50 percent by the end of 2009.

The collective success is substantial, but is also fragile and must be sustained. Just this past year, Zambia faced a resurgence of malaria in a few provinces when mosquito nets were not replaced in time.... Rapid action to address this increase has since been taken by the Zambian government, together with the World Bank, UN Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Stanbic Bank, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), and the UN Special Envoy's Office."

Zoellick said while funding was important, it was partnerships between citizens, governments, healthcare providers as well as the increasing reliance on and use of science, technology and the body of global knowledge on what works that could accelerate progress in fighting malaria.

"Our bedrock guiding principle must be stronger accountability. ALMA's flagship accountability initiative is a simple tool, commonly employed in the private sector: a scorecard. Currently under development with our partners in the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, the scorecard will track progress, identify what is working, what is not, and highlight where intervention is required," he said.

"As we take inspiration this World Malaria Day from African countries that now have malaria in retreat, we also need to recommit to finish the job. Allowing hard-won gains to be reversed cannot be an option."

And speaking during the commemoration of World Malaria Day in Chongwe district last Thursday, World Vision operations director Fordson Kafweku said Malaria was a disease whose prevention and control required multiple interventions.

"There is more that needs to be done to achieve this goal; from indoor residue spraying, use of insecticide treated nets, environmental control to prevent the development of mosquito breeding grounds, and providing prompt and effective treatment," said Kafweku. Kafweku called for more partnerships in order to accelerate the fight against malaria.

"Different opportunities are available to both the public and private sector to contribute towards government's efforts in the prevention and control of Malaria," said Kafweku.

He said World Vision Zambia would this year distribute one million insecticide treated Mosquito nets in Luapula, in addition to 83,148 distributed in its 37 areas of development programmes.

Lusaka Province minister Charles Shawa said that although there was significant reduction of malaria cases from over one million in 2000 to 800,000 in 2009, the scourge still remained one of the country's biggest public health challenges.

"In view of the socio-economic impact, the national plan (SNDP) has the elimination of malaria as one of the key priorities. The Ministry of Health is requesting you all to partner fully in all efforts aimed at addressing the challenges," he said. Chongwe member of parliament Sylvia Masebo urged the government to take advantage of continued interventions from the private sector to scale up the fight against Malaria.

Meanwhile, a representative from MTN Zambia Mwenzi Mulenga said the company had begun using its technology and communication platforms to carryout malaria education and awareness campaigns in an effort to achieve the goal of making the country a malaria-free zone by 2015.