USAID Office of Health Director Jessica Healey said the country has made significant progress over the past five years in eradicating malaria.
Healey said malaria deaths have fallen by 67%, from 914 in 2007 to 300 in 2021, and the number of confirmed cases has fallen by 15%, from over a million to around 900,000.
“Since 2018, the U.S. government has purchased more than 3.6 million bed nets to prevent malaria, 27 million drugs to treat malaria, and 2.8 million drugs to prevent malaria infection in pregnant women,” said Healey said.
According to the World Health Organization, malaria is the leading cause of illness and death in Liberia, accounting for 46.9% of hospitalized outpatients in 2020. The disease is particularly likely to affect children and pregnant women .
Ms Harley, who spoke at Paynesville Town Hall on World Malaria Day, noted that despite progress, malaria remains Liberia’s most serious public health problem and the leading cause of child deaths.
“A number of people and babysitters don’t seek treatment early when they get sick and don’t see community health workers,” she said.
According to Director Harley, many people self-medicate with counterfeit and poor drugs and fail to acquire bed nets during mass distribution programs.
She pledged U.S. government support through the President’s Malaria Initiative to advance equality by increasing services to reach the underserved and hard-to-reach population.
Malaria Awareness is marked on April 25 each year to raise awareness of the catastrophic effects of the disease on families, communities and societal development, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
The theme for this year’s festival was “Advancing Equality, Building Resilience, Ending Malaria”. It began with a month of huge social mobilization efforts and an interagency sports tournament, as well as talk shows on four radio stations, including ELBC, Truth FM, OK FM and ECOWAS.
The event ended with a parade from the premises of the Ministry of Health in Congo’s oldest city on Friday, May 6, 2022 to Paynesville City Hall for the culmination of activities.
During the parade, officials from the Ministry of Health and partners chanted “Zero Malaria Starts With Me” while educating the public about the disease.
According to D. Levi Hinneh, deputy director of the surveillance program of the national malaria control program, hosted the Roll Back Malaria Partnership program to discuss progress and challenges in the fight against the disease.
“The main issues raised by the audience during the four radio stations included: the need for continued public engagement through similar interaction, improving the quality of care in public health facilities, monitoring the use of bed nets after the mass distribution and raising public awareness on correct use The public also urged the anti-malarial community to put in place a system to prevent the misuse of bed nets as seen daily in the streets” , did he declare.
C. Stanford Wesseh, Assistant Minister for Vital Statistics, speaking on behalf of Minister of Health Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah recommended that people use mosquito nets to avoid catching the disease.
It has been shown to be profitable, he claims. “Sleeping under a mosquito net and getting prompt medical care has been shown to save money.”
Hon. Wesseh pledged the commitment of the Ministry of Health to ensure that people living in hard-to-reach areas have access to mosquito nets and anti-malaria products in all facilities, especially public health facilities, to that patients consult a doctor and receive adequate care.
“As we strive to end malaria, we know that in a country with insufficient resources it is very difficult, but there are effective interventions that we can all implement to ensure that we end malaria. “, did he declare.
Dr Moses Jeuronlon, Head of the WHO Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV Programme, conveyed a message from the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, on behalf of Dr Peter Clement, Representative of the WHO for Liberia. said that despite a slowdown in the pace of progress in reducing incidences and deaths from malaria, as well as delays from COVID-19, “we are still much further ahead than in 2000. We need to rekindle this momentum and build on recent advances.”
He went on to say that today was World Malaria Day, an opportunity to reaffirm the government’s commitment and encourage continued investment in malaria prevention and control.
Dr Jeuronlon called on countries and people affected by malaria to work closely with development partners while contributing to the achievement of other Sustainable Development Goals.
“Personally, and the WHO Regional Office for Africa, let us remain fully committed to the fight against malaria. I believe we can rise to the challenge if we work closely with governments, partners and communities.”