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Sierra Leone
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Today is World Malaria Day! Sierra Leone committed to reducing malaria cases by 0% in 2025

BY Ibrahim Kabba Turay

Sierra Leone will join other countries today, 25th April, 2022, around the world to observe this year’s World Malaria Day with the theme; “Harness Innovation to Reduce The Malaria Disease Burden And Save Lives”.

The day is being celebrated on April 25th every year to help raise awareness about malaria and the devastating impact it has on the lives of more than three billion people, and the opportunities to help communities thrive to end it.

According to the Programme Manager of the Malaria Control Programme in the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Ronald Carshon-Maesh, the country is committed and determined to ensure the reduction of new cases by 0% come 2025.

He said despite the continued challenges, they have recorded great successes over the years, citing infection control and the distribution of some 4 million bed last year’s countrywide.

He said malaria remains a public health concern with everybody at risk of catching the virus, but stressed that pregnant women and children under-five were the most vulnerable groups.

He stated that the overall objective of this year’s observation is to intensify the fight by using all available channels of communications to raise awareness about malaria prevention and control interventions.

Dr. Ronald disclosed that in 2015 alone, there were 2,370,039 million tested cases, 1,661,072 tested positive,while 1,107 died of malaria.

 He said in 2021, 3,105,380 were tested of malaria, 1,950,072 were positive of malaria and 1,525 died of malaria nationwide.

 “Malaria is preventable and curable. We are making gains to eradicating it in Sierra Leone and we are committed to reducing cases by 0% come 2025. Malaria is the cause of over 38% of all hospital consultation and 17.6% of those died of the disease,” he said.

The Programme Manager disclosed that malaria prevalence is almost two times higher in rural areas by 25.6 % than in urban areas, which is 14.2%, thus noting that according to microscopy, the disease is highest in the Northern Region 24.7% and lowest in the Western Region by 10.5%.

He emphasised that there was a collective energy and commitment of the global malaria community in uniting around the common goal of a world free of malaria, adding that they always raise mass awareness about malaria especially its prevention and treatment

Representing the U.S Embassy in Freetown, Saran Van Horne, in her words, said the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has partnered with Sierra Leone to fight malaria since 2017, and that they have contributed $76 million to date.

Sarah Van Horne stated that according to the US Congress, government will invest $ 16 Million this year to supply insecticides and treated bed net through the U.S President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).

Through the PMI funding and programmes, she also intimated that the U.S Government has provided 3.8 million insecticide-treated bed nets, conducted 4.2 million malaria tests, and  delivered 3.3 million fast-tracking medicines to clinics and communities across Sierra Leone.

In 2021 alone, she revealed that over 670,000 people were protected from malaria through indoor residual spraying; more than 2.300 healthcare workers received training that amplified their ability to detect and treat malaria, and strengthened the overall healthcare system by providing key skills to fight Covid-19 and future pandemic.

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