Zimbabwe sets eyes on achieving target of universal coverage before December
This was said by the Honourable Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr H. Madzorera in his statement to mark World Malaria Day. “This year Zimbabwe will strive to attain the target of universal coverage of long lasting insecticidal net through procurement and distribution of close to 2 million nets before December 2010”, Dr H Madzorera said. The year 2010 is important in the history of malaria prevention and control in in Zimbabwe and the whole of Africa because the progress towards achieving the 2010 Abuja Targets is going to be measured at the end of it. “My Ministry has scaled up all the interventions to universal coverage in order to maximize our chances of attaining the Abuja Targets and the set Millennium Development Goals”, Dr Madzorera said.
Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Malaria Day at a function held at Elim Mission in Nyanga, a district in Manicaland which records some of the country’s highest numbers of malaria cases. The theme for this year’s commemoration was Counting Malaria Out. The commemoration was used as a way to disseminate information on malaria prevention and control through dramas, poetry, song and the many IEC materials that were distributed.
The Honourable Minister of Health & Child Welfare said his Ministry takes malaria control seriously and has a functional national program of malaria prevention and control whose goal is to prevent deaths and reduce malaria illness, and to minimize social and economic losses due to malaria through:-
- Planning and implementing selective and sustainable prevention measures including vector control (indoor residual spraying, larviciding, environmental manipulation, use of long lasting insecticidal nets and repellents)
- Provision of early diagnosis and prompt treatment with effective drugs
- Early detection, containment and prevention of epidemics.
- Strengthening of local capacities in basic operational research for development of interventions
- Advocacy, social mobilization and programme communication to enhance involvement and participation of communities and other stakeholders in malaria control initiatives
Dr Madzorera acknowledged the support received by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare from its partners especially in the area of procuring nets. “Our partners have played a very significant role as they are the ones who have been procuring and distributing most of the nets that have been distributed in Zimbabwe to date”, Dr Madzorera said. Nets in Zimbabwe were traditionally targeted at pregnant women and children below 5 years, but this year Zimbabwe will strive to attain the target of universal coverage of long lasting insecticidal nets where the target is 3 nets per household or one net per 2 people. To date close to 550 000 LLINs have been distributed using this new approach.
In a speech read on her behalf by Dr S. Midzi NPO/MPN, the WHO Representative (WR), Dr Custodia Mandlhate commended Zimbabwe for working towards achieving set targets. “Zimbabwe is making progress in malaria control and towards reaching the MDG target of reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds by 2015. This demonstrates that with adequate resources and use of effective tools, dramatic improvements in people’s health can be achieved”, said Dr Mandlhate.
She also said a collective and coordinated action by all stakeholders is needed to ensure delivery of quality community-based health interventions; improved access to commodities and services; and the scaling up of interventions such as the use of long lasting insecticide-treated nets, intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy, indoor residual spraying and prompt diagnosis and treatment of febrile cases.
Dr Mandlhate also reaffirmed WHO’s support in malaria control activities. “WHO will continue to provide guidance regarding appropriate malaria control policies and interventions and continue to play its role in intensifying technical support. These efforts will focus on accelerating malaria control in Zimbabwe with a view to achieving the MDG target of halting and beginning to reverse malaria incidence by 2015”, she said.
Dr Mandlhate emphasized the involvement of the community in malaria control activities. “Increased emphasis should be placed on the day-to-day involvement of families, school children and teachers, students, youths, women, men and civil society organizations”, she said. She urged the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to:
- ensure community ownership and participation including contribution to human and financial resources and strengthening of alliances to fight malaria;
- build upon local knowledge and experiences, especially in environmental protection and management for disease prevention;
- involve all families and community leaders in local development initiatives;
- focus on prevention while establishing the enabling conditions for prompt referral of febrile cases to district health facilities by caregivers at household level;
- work with and support community health workers;
- Strengthen capacity for monitoring service accessibility, quality and uptake at community level.
The community of Elim Mission demonstrated a vast knowledge of malaria control and prevention measures. This was demonstrated through song and dance, dramas and poetry by both school children and adults. The highlight of the commemoration was a local youth band that entertained people with songs that carried malaria messages.
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