NAIROBI, Kenya, November 19, 2021 / APO Group / –
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe challenges member states of the East African community to integrate new technologies into their strategic cross-border approaches to eliminate malaria in the region.
Speaking in Kigali, Rwanda, at the first planning meeting of the Great Lakes Malaria Initiative, in his capacity as chair of the EAC Sector Council of Health Ministers, Kagwe said the priority to prevention and surveillance remained essential to accelerate the elimination of the disease.
“As we grapple with our dire predicament elsewhere, a WHO study has shown that areas of Southeast Asia known as the Mekong region, including Cambodia, China (province of Yunnan), Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam reported remarkable progress as The number of reported malaria cases in six countries declined 97 percent between 2000 and 2020. ”Observed CS Health.
According to Kagwe, the Mekong region saw a drop of more than 99% in malaria deaths during the same period, despite the persistent threat of resistance to antimalarials.
“What has worked for this region is that it has prioritized prevention and surveillance to accelerate the elimination of malaria. They used techniques such as private sector mapping, comprehensive training and routine supervision to ensure high quality malaria care and data reporting, ”Kagwe said.
The Health SC, however, was optimistic that ongoing interventions that include close engagement of regional economic blocs in Africa as well as increased resources, political will and commitment will help decisively tackle the scourge of malaria. .
“I believe that we too can and will achieve similar success, particularly with the launch of the very first malaria vaccine newly approved for use in children. We look forward to the wider deployment of this vaccine which will be used alongside other preventive measures. »Remarked the health center.
He urged East African member states to support collective needs for sustainable financing, inclusive health, surveillance data and community engagement that includes private sector involvement and participation. He said Kenya, under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the chairman of the African Leaders Alliance Against Malaria, has pledged $ 5 million for regional malaria control.
Kenya, through the Kenya Medical Research Institute, has also developed a rapid diagnostic test kit for malaria which is expected to be launched before the end of the year.
During its visit to Rwanda, the HC for Health visited several projects, including one supported by community health workers where they use local methods to control the spread of malaria as well as a shopping mall owned by the group that has been built with their own savings.
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