By Bintou Kb Janneh,
The Gambian minister of Health and Social Welfare says that the government of The Gambia under the leadership of President Jammeh places malaria prevention and control as a high priority. FatimBadjie was speaking Thursday during the launch of the Indoor Residual Spraying 2012 in the Lower River Region.
The Indoor Residual Spraying is the application of long acting chemical insecticide on the inner walls and roofs of dwelling houses and animal shelters where possible in order to kill adult mosquito vectors that land and rest on surfaces as well as reduce their span in order to terminate their ability to transmit malaria parasite from one person to another. The Indoor Residual Spraying was introduced in 2008 following the procurement of insecticide by President Jammeh.
The Health minister told the gathering that the government recognises malaria as a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the country and as such a formidable challenge to economic growth and development. She said that in The Gambia, malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality especially among children under five years and pregnant women, adding that the burden posed by malaria goes beyond the health sector.
She called for concerted efforts of all including local authorities, communities, sectors of the government and Non-Governmental Organisations to enhance high-level advocacy, inter- sectorial collaboration and partnership to eradicate the devastating impact relating to malaria.
Minister Badjie further informed the gathering that under the visionary leadership of President Jammeh, the government has put in place malaria prevention and control as a high government priority by implementing effective interventions such as creating awareness for early diagnosis with prompt and effective treatment for malaria, free distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated nets, introduction of free malaria chemoprophylaxis and treatment for pregnant women for positive pregnancy outcomes.
She further stated that the integrated and comprehensive implementation of these strategies across the country has contributed to a drastic reduction in malaria burden and admissions due to malaria having dropped by 74% while malaria attributable deaths also reduced by 90%.
She concluded by calling upon all present to support the president’s noble cause in the eradication of malaria in the country by increasing advocacy and resource mobilisation for more intensified action towards malaria control and prevention.