Freetown, April, 20, 2015 (MOHS) – Sierra Leone will join other countries around the world on April 25th to commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day on the theme: “Invest in the future: Defeat Malaria”.
The day was set aside by the World Health Assembly (WHA) at its 60th Session in 2007 with the essence of raising awareness about malaria.
The concept was originated at the African Summit on Malaria in Abuja, Nigeria, where African leaders from 44 Malaria endemic countries, seeking to highlight the gravity of the malaria situation on the continent, declared April 25th every year to be commemorated as African Malaria Day.
Programme Manager of the National Malaria Control Programme in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Samuel Juana Smith while addressing a news conference last Thursday in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation conference hall at Youyi Building in Freetown, said the objective of the day is to create awareness about the disease and the devastating effect it has on the lives of more than three billion people-half of the world’s population. He said April 25th is a day for recognizing the global effort to provide effective control of malaria.
Reducing malaria, Dr. Smith insists is key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals agreed by UN member states.
He said malaria countries have made ‘incredible gains’ in malaria fight in the last decade, but stressed that its sustenance will take extra effort until the job is finished and malaria is eliminated globally. Dr. Smith said each year, Roll Back Malaria partner organizations unite around a common World Malaria Day them: “Invest in the future: Defeat Malaria” is a 3 year theme chosen by partners for the period 2013-2015 to call attention to the need to reach the 2015 MDG and defeat malaria in the future.
He added that for this year’s event Sierra Leone mapped out special slogan “Improve mother and child health, defeat malaria and end poverty”.
The medic admitted that despite the collaborative efforts made, the fight against malaria in Sierra Leone remains a serious challenge, with its prevalent rate still high in some parts of the country. He said malaria is a public health issue and that despite the country has reduced the disease by 50% the job is not yet finished. He insists: “Everybody is at risk in Sierra Leone”, Dr. Smith added that malaria is associated with poverty and therefore the need for effort at all level to fight the menace.
The Chairman of the programme and Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation Jonathan Abass Kamara on behalf of his Minister assured the Ministry’s renewed commitment in fighting the disease. He described World Malaria Day as an opportunity for all to help tackle the most serious health problems in Sierra Leone, adding that malaria is the cause of over 38% of all hospital consultations. Twenty percent of those admitted die of malaria and that the most vulnerable are our pregnant mothers and small children. The disease maintained, is preventable.
“As leaders of faith communities, you have significant roles to play. More than 90% of all Sierra Leoneans listen to you in your places of worship on daily basis. So please help us to eradicate malaria by giving out key messages on health during your sermons leading up to the World Malaria Day”, the PRO re-echoed the Minister’s call.
Credit: New Vision Newspaper