TOP
Thursday,October 22,2020 02:57 AM
  • Home
  • Opinion
  • Why the Presidential ALMA Malaria Award is an opportunity to eliminate malaria

Why the Presidential ALMA Malaria Award is an opportunity to eliminate malaria

By Admin

Added 7th March 2017 10:28 AM

The ALMA Awards for Excellence towards the fight against malaria were awarded to Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda for their impact on malaria incidence and mortality.

Why the Presidential ALMA Malaria Award is an opportunity to eliminate malaria

The ALMA Awards for Excellence towards the fight against malaria were awarded to Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda for their impact on malaria incidence and mortality.

By Bosco Agaba Bekiita
At the 28th African Union Summit last month, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA, 2017) honored eight African countries that have shown commitment and innovation in the fight against the Malaria.

The ALMA Awards for Excellence towards the fight against malaria were awarded to Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda for their impact on malaria incidence and mortality.

The President received this award himself in recognition of the exemplary leadership and the significant achievements in national malaria control.

This was a landmark award to countries that have made significant reduction in malaria burden that I feel shouldn't go unnoticed. In the 2012 world malaria report, Uganda was ranked fourth highest in number of malaria cases reported globally, and sixth in number of malaria-associated deaths.

The 2017 ALMA is therefore an important milestone worth celebrating that in 2017, the country is being recognized for achieving significant reductions in malaria burden.

According to the 2015 national malaria indicator survey, Uganda reduced malaria parasite prevalence from 44% to 19%, a more than 50% reduction between 2009 and 2015.

This reduction is attributed to a combination of interventions that include improved availability and access to malaria medicines and diagnostics, indoor residual spraying (IRS), use of long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs), continuous awareness campaign through behavioral change communication and strong leadership national Ministry and national malaria control program.

If this pace is maintained and sustained, the country aims to reduce malaria death to near zero, reduce malaria prevalence and incidence further to less than 7% and 30 cases per 1,000 people respectively close to pre-elimination levels.

With the current scale up of interventions, this is possible and we should be set to receive another award in 2020. 

In order to sustain these achievements and fast track progress towards the 2020 targets, we need to reach and sustain universal access to malaria medicines and diagnostics, universal coverage and use of LLINs, sustain IRS where it is introduced, strengthen district and community village Health Team structures for malaria, continue awareness and behavioral change campaign and strong surveillance systems to monitor progress, guide programmatic decisions and better targeting of interventions.

However, at the center of all this there must be a strong national malaria program that is able to take lead and coordinate the national malaria control efforts.

While the current control program capacity and leadership are strong, they require improved facilities for better coordination.

The immediate need is the expansion of space beyond the current two rooms and transform into a facility that is able to accommodate trainings, insectary for mosquito studies, a reference malaria diagnostics center for parasite and drug studies, library as resource center for malaria and adequate offices for staff.

Such a facility will be the one that matches malaria control facilities in the neighboring malaria endemic countries.

The writer is an epidemiologist, public health specialist at the department of Disease Control, Kampala


Related articles

More From The Author

More From The Author