KAYENGONA - The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernhard Haufiku says although the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region is united and determined to end the scourge of malaria, there is a need for member states to work together and network.
He said SADC member states should ensure there is no border in their fight against malaria.
He spoke during the commemoration of SADC Malaria Day on Friday which was held at Kayengona village east of Rundu, where the event was commemorated under the theme: “Strong Cross border collaboration is key to Malaria Elimination” and the slogan, “SADC Unite to End Malaria”.
The event highlighted the plight of malaria among communities at risk and to advocate for support from key decision makers and stakeholders for malaria control efforts in the region.
“We need to network and making sure that we know that there is no border between our work, the natural rivers and other border posts are for other things not for the fight against malaria. So we call upon the SADC member states to strengthen and sustain cross border collaboration to halt the transmission across borders and minimise the spread of the disease to areas especially where it has been cleared out or just been reduced, its either we kill the mosquito or the mosquito kills us, we can’t take them to Geneva to negotiate a settlement with them they are not interested, it’s either their guns towards us or ours against them,” Haufiku said.
Haufiku during the event said the commemoration was not only to create awareness but also to honour health care workers, communities and their leaders as well as the partners who are working tirelessly in the fight against malaria in SADC region.
“We commend them and applaud their great work. So we are also here to remember those who have been victims of malaria and particularly those who have lost their lives, we observe this day to remind ourselves that while malaria continues to devastate our communities, the disease can be prevented, it can be treated and its curable and we have the tools at our disposal so the question is why then, while we are having the tools and knowledge and all that is required for us to defeat malaria do we still suffer huge human loss due to this insect called mosquito,” he said.
Haufiku further revealed the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that three quarters of the world population are at risk of contracting malaria. “So the world is not safe, Southern Africa is even more in danger given all other social problems, 35 million people are children under the age of five at risk of contracting malaria and eight and half millions of these are pregnant women, now here comes the story, 90 percent of all malaria cases are on this continent mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, 92 percent of all that dies because of malaria is in this part of the world, including the 72 percent of all the people dying from malaria under the age of five,” he said.