April 26, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Sierra Leone yesterday joined other countries around the world to commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day on the theme: ‘End Malaria for Good’.
World Malaria Day was instituted by the World Health Assembly at its 60th session in May, 2007, and commemorated every year to create awareness about an ancient disease and the devastating impact it has on the lives of more than three billion people.
During the launch of Sierra Leone’s Malaria Indicator Survey 2016 report and National World Malaria Day at the St. Anthony Parish Hall, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation I, Madina Rahman, said the disease is a bad for businesses because it was responsible for decreased productivity, employee absenteeism, and increase in healthcare spending.
She stated that strong business models exist for businesses to take leadership roles in controlling malaria, prevent workers and their families from the disease and strengthen businesses.
She noted that this year’s theme is a call of desperation for more support and investment in the concerted fight against a disease that has plagued the world, especially the African continent with devastating consequences.
“The theme also underscores the ambition and determination of the international community to consolidate previous achievements and scale up effort with a view to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal agreed by every member state to guide effort through 2030,” she said.
While calling on the private sector to be more active in the fight to get rid of malaria in the country, Madam Rahman opined that despite encouraging gains, the effect of malaria on social development of any kind were still enough to continue to pose a threat to the advancement of the affected countries unless concerted efforts is applied to combat the disease.
Also speaking was the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sarian Kamara, who stated that government recognizes the fact that malaria was a leading public health problem, with the entire population at risk of being affected by the disease.
“It is very disheartening to note that Sierra Leone still occupies a very unenviable position in the global malaria landscape. Therefore, this is a cause for concern that warrants concerted efforts with a view to effectively prevent and control this disease,” she said.
Program Manager of the National Malaria Control Programme, Dr. Samuel Juana Smith said: “out of the 212 million new cases of malaria in 2015, 90% occurred in Africa. We have committed ourselves to reduce deaths from malaria by 40% in 2020 and 90% in 2030.”