Tanzania convenes experts to chart a roadmap for Malaria control

Dar-es-Salaam, 12-13 March 2018: The National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in collaboration with WHO and the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) convened a consultative meeting of experts to develop the Malaria Operational Plan (MOP) for the year 2018/19. The MOPs are developed on an annual basis to review the progress made in the implementation of the previous years’ activities, identify gaps in malaria implementation and prioritize for the subsequent years’ interventions.

At the opening ceremony, the World Health Organization Representative, Dr Matthieu Kamwa applauded the PMI for its significant contribution towards malaria control in sub-Saharan Africa, since 2005. “Malaria is not merely a disease but rather a major development issue. It is beyond the remit of the Ministry of Health and should be approached through a comprehensive approach by all sectors. The disease keeps a country in poverty and is increasingly being affected by climate change and environmental degradation” Dr. Kamwa said. He went on to outline the aim of the Global Technical Strategy (GTS) for Malaria control – 2016-2030 which is to reduce mortality and case incidence by >90% by 2030 and eliminate malaria from more than 35 countries by 2030. The WR commended the government for the immense progress that it had made in the past years in the control of the disease.

Dr. Kamwa cited challenges impeding endemic countries to stay on track in their aim for elimination to include: lack of sustainable and predictable international and domestic funding, risks posed by conflict in malaria endemic zones, climate change, the emergence of parasite resistance to antimalarial medicines and mosquito resistance to insecticides. “When we agree we are stronger, we achieve better results and when we are alone we go far but when we move as a team we go further”, he concluded on a positive note.

In his opening remarks the Guest of Honour, Honourable Dr Faustine Ndugulile, Deputy Minister of Health, emphasized that the motto of the government is to ensure that all Tanzanians are continuously protected against malaria using a combination of recommended evidence-based interventions and that access to effective antimalarial drugs was optimal at both the public and private health facilities at an affordable price for malaria treatment. He reiterated that a strong economic case must be made by the government towards the course of malaria control as it is a major hindrance to economic development.

He expressed government’s appreciation to the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and partners for the enormous financial support availed for malaria control. “We need all hands-on deck to fight the scourge. We must work together to tackle communicable diseases head on, such that they are no longer the number one public health problem. Long-term financial input from the government, PMI, other development partners and the private sector in malaria control is essential to win the fight against malaria”, the Deputy Minster concluded and graced the two days’ meeting.

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Dr. Neema Kileo

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