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Sierra Leone News: China CDC and partners to tackle malaria

Malaria is one of the most deadly diseases in the world. It is estimated that malaria kills over a million people every year, globally. Sierra Leone is one of the countries severely affected by malaria. Although it has made an ambitious goal, malaria control and elimination is still a big challenge, and on Thursday 18 October 2018, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with other key stakeholders started a two-day conference on malaria prevention and control at the Bintumani Hotel in Aberdeen. The conference was to share the latest knowledge and experience on thee control and prevention of malaria, as well as the progress on operational research. Further to explore the potential approaches towards forming an international collaborative network of malaria control and elimination in Africa. While chairing the programme, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Clinical, Dr. Donald Bash Taqi, said it is very important to have key health stakeholders working together in order to combat malaria, specifically making reference to Sierra Leone. “We know that learning from each other and working together is the only way to do more and do it better.”  He pointed out that government recognizes the fact that malaria is a leading public health problem with the entire population at risk of being infected by such a scourge, adding that the national malaria control programme under the Ministry of Health focuses on one main goal, which is to improve the health quality of the people of Sierra Leone. According to the Officer in Charge of WHO, Dr. Alex Chimbas, “Despite being preventable and treatable, malaria continues to have devastating impact on people’s health and livelihood around the world.” He maintained that in most countries, where the disease is endemic, the disease excessively affects poor and disadvantaged people, who have limited access to health facilities and can barely afford the recommended treatment. He said the implementation of malaria control strategies has not been without challenges, pointing out that in the 2017 World Malaria Report, Sierra Leone is one of the 41countries with high burden of malaria, which experienced a decrease in average funding per capital population at risk during the period of 2011-2013 and 2014 -2016. A representative of the Chinese Embassy, Zhang Xueqian, said malaria is an important threat to global health, adding that there were 194 million cases of malaria in 2017 and 407,000 malaria deaths in Africa. He stressed the reason they brought such key players on board was to map out strategies to combat malaria. The representative of the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CCDC), Dr. Xiao Ning, said they have been supporting the country’s health sector for a while now adding that such support will continue. He said the eradication of malaria is a global goal, which they want to achieve by 2030. He said he is confident that such platform will be well utilised in order to terminate malaria.

MJB/18/10/18

By Mohamed J. Bah

Friday October 19, 2018.

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