The Gambia Government, through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, in partnership with local and international partners, yesterday joined the rest of the World in commemorating the World Malaria Day (WMD) 2011.
The celebrations on April 25, marks the 11th Anniversary of the Day chosen by United Nations. In The Gambia, this year marked the fourth anniversary of the Day and celebrations has been over the years headed by the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) and others partners in the fight against the killer disease.
Observed on the theme “Achieving Progress and Impact”, at the village of Essau, Lower Niumi District in the North Bank Region (NBR), the event brought together different stakeholders in the roll-back-malaria (RBM) initiative, school children, security officers, United Nations officials, cultural groups and the media.
In his welcome remarks, the Acting Regional Director of Health Services in NBR, Mr. Ivan Coker said the WMD was conceived by the World Health Assembly at its 60th Session in May 2007.
He said its purpose is to give countries in affected regions the chance to learn from each other’s experiences and also to support one and other in their efforts to combat malaria.
He said the Day also give international partners the chance to reflect on their achievements and to scale-up their efforts on one of the greatest global health challenges. However, he said “reducing the impact of malaria is very curial in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015” as agreed by all UN Member Countries.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Representative in The Gambia Dr. Thomas Sukuwa noted that 2011 is the end of the decade of the UN Roll Back Malaria initiative.
He said The Gambia as a country has registered significant gains in the fight against malaria, this, he adds is due to the high political commitment and support attached to the cause of the campaign against malaria by the government.
When he took his turn, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr. Saikou Omar Touray said the theme is fitting as Africa bears 90 percent of the malaria burden and the vast majority of malaria deaths occur in Africa.
He said that a lot of achievements have been registered in preventing and controlling malaria in the country. However, he said there are still challenges that they are faced with, including adherence to the full courses of anti-malarial treatment, consistent utilization of insecticide treated mosquito bed nets amongst others.
He called on the media to continue helping increasing the advocacy and social mobilization campaigns in their dissemination of information.
Others speakers include the Governor of NBR Eduward Seckan, Deputy Programme Manager NMCP Balla Kandeh and the Chief of Lower Niumi Bakary Nana Sonko. They all echoed similar sentiments. Source – The Voice