GAVI hails Malawi’s Malaria Week, PC vaccine launched

United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) has applauded the Malawi Government for launching the ‘Malaria Week’, November 13 to 18 and Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) and Llin distribution campaign.

Speaking at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe where the ceremony took place on Saturday. Dr. Jane Muita, who is UNICEF’s deputy Country Representative in Malawi commended the partnership, which exists between the Malawi Government and Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). She was speaking officially on behalf of GAVI.

GAVI supports the Malawi Government in strengthening its immunization systems, injection safety and so far, GAVI has already given Malawi US$74.5 in grants.

Kalirani: Awareness

Speaking when she officially launched the Malaria Week and the vaccines, Health Minister Jean Kalirani emphasized the need for people to sleep under mosquito nets to avoid catching Malaria, which is one of the major killers of people.

“My ministry plans to distribute 5.4 Million mosquito nets this season alone in order to reduce deaths caused by Malaria, especially among under-five children and the pregnant women,” she said, advising people particularly those along the lake against selling the safety nets to fishermen for use in catching fish.

Kalirani said that the Malaria Week will serve to create awareness in order for communities can adopt methods to prevent occurrences of Malaria.

The week coincides with the period that is the peak Malaria transmission season in the SADC region.

“It also provides an opportunity for advocating and lobbying for an increase in collaboration and cooperation among partners and communities to overcome the challenges brought by Malaria disease,” reads in part a Ministry of Health statement issued on Friday.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Be Free of Malaria in the SADC Region.” The slogan is “Know the Malaria Symptoms. Go for Testing and Treatment.”

The primary goal for the week is to achieve “universal coverage in the prevention and treatment of Malaria.”

The ministry says the theme and its slogan mean every citizen will be able to access all Malaria interventions, including preventive measures and effective treatment.

Major activities slated for the Malaria Week and the rest of the year apart from the long lasting insecticide treated bednets distribution, will include indoor residual spraying in Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Nkhota Kota, Salima, Mangochi, Chikhwawa, and Nsanje. These districts are high Malaria transmission areas.

In line with the universal access policy, testing and treatment will be carried with introduction in July this year of malaria rapid diagnostic kits (RDTs) at all government and the independent Christian Health Association (CHAM) facilities.

The government will also promote taking sulphadoxine pyrimethamine (SP) as protection to pregnant women from Malaria.

Malaria Week is commemorated in all Sadc member states.

PCV) is a vaccine used to protect infants and young children against disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus). There are currently three PCV vaccines available on the global market: Prevnar (called Prevenar in some countries), Synflorix and Prevnar.

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