Panos Africa  for increased momentum to eliminate malaria in Malawi

Panos Institute Southern Africa (PISA) has appealed to all partners working in the health sector in Malawi to step-up the momentum in the fight to eradicate malaria which is one of the country’s top public health problems.

Executive Director of Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) Lilian Kiefer:Kiefer

The partners include health service providers, civil society organizations (CSOs) and communities. Panos made the appeal following the commemoration of World Malaria Day which took place on April 25, 2018 under the theme: ‘Ready to Beat Malaria.’

PISA Executive Director, Lillian Saka Kiefer said Thursday while government and its collaborating partners involved in the Malawi National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) have made remarkable progress in raising awareness of the disease, causes and remedies of the disease remained one of the country’s top public health problems.

Speaking in an interview, Kiefer said the 2017 Malawi Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) implemented by the NMCP confirmed that an estimated four million cases occur in Malawi every year.

She, however, pointed out that on a positive note, the report showed that there was a decline in malaria prevalence from 33 per cent in 2014 to 24 per cent in 2017, while possession of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) increased from 70 per cent in 2014 to 82 per cent in 2017.

“Although the number of deaths has reduced owing to improved access to treatment and improved uptake of malaria prevention drugs, Malaria is still one of the leading causes of death in Malawi, especially among children under the age of five,” she observed.

According to Kiefer, for the country to be ready to fight Malaria, it is imperative for all stakeholders to double their efforts to sustain the gains made towards eliminating the disease. She outlined a number of actions that would be needed to increase the momentum in the malaria response.

She said there was need to strengthen controls by government and health stakeholders in ensuring that resources allocated for malaria prevention were used for that purpose.

On support for malaria awareness interventions, Kiefer noted the reduced support to communication for health activities and sponsorship of media to report on the science part of the disease such as malaria and malaria prevention.

“We appeal to CSOs and donor partners to support the training of media to undertake in-depth review and report on malaria and other diseases from an informed view point,” she added.

Kiefer also underscored the need to scale-up malaria prevention at community level, appealing to cooperating partners to increase support to various partners such as CSOs and community based entities working towards the reduction of malaria burden at that level.

Despite 2017 MIS results showing improvement on use of intermittent prevention treatment during pregnancy (IPTP) by pregnant women aged between 15 and 49, Kiefer pointed out the increased need for the nation to address religious and cultural practices that discourage uptake of anti-malaria drugs.

“Panos, therefore, appeals to traditional and religious leaders to also join hands with other stakeholders in malaria prevention,” she said.

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