Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has said although sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has not experienced rapid rates decline of malaria to equal with the global progress, the SADC region has registered stronger progress in the prevention and control of malaria.
Nandi-Ndaitwah made these remarks while speaking at the SADC malaria elimination dinner last Thursday.
She said between 2000 and 2012, malaria incidence in the SADC region reduced by 31% and the death rate decreased by 49% to the point where in many SADC countries it is no longer a significant public health problem, hence the push to eliminate it all together.
“Eliminating malaria requires a fundamentally different approach compared to just control. Where malaria is being controlled, a re-orientation towards eventual interruption of malaria transmission is recommended in order to create a malaria-free future,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah who doubles as the minister of international relations.
“Whereas controlling malaria requires a more routine approach to scale up coverage of proven interventions, elimination calls for more complex, data-driven, and evidence driven strategies,” she added.
Nandi-Ndaitwah says the malaria burden impacts many aspects of sustainable development, thus, investing in health and malaria in particular contributes to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
She said the economic gains of moving from high malaria burden to low burden are well demonstrated by economic, social and political indicators as well as cultural benefits.
According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, in 2015, the African Union (AU) came up with the concept of “The Africa We Want”, that by 2063 the continent aspires to be prosperous based on inclusive growth and sustainable development and a continent determined to eradicate poverty and that African people have a high standard of living, quality of life, sound health and well-being.
In the same line, she said African heads of state in 2016, went further to endorse a goal of an Africa free of malaria by 2030. In August 2018, SADC Heads of State and Government signed the Windhoek Declaration on Eliminating Malaria in the SADC region by 2030.
The deputy prime minister further said that as the malaria elimination 8 (E8) and SADC progress toward this goal, its prerequisite for success depends on sustainable domestic financing; multi-sectoral approach; cross-border collaboration; regulation; and human resource development and deployment.
As a result, Nandi-Ndaitwah said of the stellar performance recorded by the E8 countries, plans are underway for all the 16 SADC member states to join E8 this year.
She said, “those in the field are reminding us as member states of the challenges faced in realising this noble goal.”
Nandi-Ndaitwah added these challenges include limited domestic funding and human resource capacity or lack of necessary skills required in leading these efforts.
“Difficulties in sharing of data remains a huge bottleneck and the varying country situations pose a challenge i.e. politically, economically, among others.”
“We must overcome these challenges politically, economically among others. Therefore, I call everyone including other countries to rededicate our efforts to eliminate malaria out of the E8 and SADC region,” she said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah commends the team at the E8 Secretariat under the leadership of former minister of health Dr Richard Kamwi, the Ambassador of E8 Malaria Elimination.
The event was also attended by Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula, several Cabinet ministers and ambassadors
2020-03-10 07:28:47 | 20 days ago