Health and Sanitation Minister, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah has said that Sierra Leone over the past couple of years has achieved a remarkable success in malaria control initiative with prevalence reduction rate from 68% in 1987 to 43% in 2013.
Delivering his keynote address at the Annual Review Meeting of the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) for the year 2015 at the Wusum Hotel in Makeni, Dr. Fofanah reiterated that the Sierra Leone Malaria Indicator Survey conducted in 2013 shows a remarkable success, adding that such achievement could be attributed to the increase free distribution of long lasting insecticide treated nets with an encouraging utilisation of high percentage of households owning at least one treated net. Children under age five that are sleeping under treated nets rise from 10% in 2005 to 69% in 2013, as well as pregnant women from 12% in 2005 to 76% in 2013. Intermittent preventive treatment at health facility and community levels, the Minister said is being more frequently used and increased from two percent in 2005 to 61.5% in 2013.
Dilating on the launch of the Free Health Care Initiative by President Koroma, Dr. Fofanah noted that the initiative embraces the National Malaria Control Programme’s efforts of spear heading the distribution of over 3 million long lasting insecticide treated nets throughout the country in November 2010. The Ministry of Health and partners, to maintain the gains and improve on the strategy he said, was also able to distribute to households over 3.5 million treated nets nationwide free of cost from 5 to 14 June 2014, pointing out that percentage of people having access to Artemisivin combination therapy for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria increased from 36% in 2005 to 84% in 2015.
The success story continues with the management of free malaria treatment for all age groups in all public facilities.
On the Roll Back Malaria Initiative and the Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Fofanah reaffirmed that Sierra Leone committed itself to the Roll Back Malaria initiative since 1998 which eventually builds on the Global Malaria Strategy with a focus on Africa on 25 April 2000 at the Abuja Summit in Nigeria. The Roll Back Malaria partnership and African Health Ministers set targets of exceeding 80% coverage he for available cost effective interventions by 2010. Sierra Leone, Dr. Fofanah reminded his audience, subscribes to the Global Millennium Development Goals and Abuja targets to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality thereby reducing human suffering, socio-economic loss and promote economic development.
The National Malaria Strategic Plan 2016-2020, the Minister said is aligned with the Health Sector Recovery Plan 2015-2020 and was developed based on the recommendations of the Global Technical Strategy 2016-2030 and the Roll Back Malaria partnership’s Action and Investment to defeat malaria 2016-2030 to ensure shared goals and complementarities. These initiatives, Dr. Fofanah maintained share the time frame of the Sustainable Development Goals.
He expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Global Fund partnership for the invaluable support to the malaria, HIV and tuberculosis programmes though faced with some challenges in handling cases, and encouraged the public to know that malaria is preventive and treatable. Dr. Fofanah reminded participants about their role in financial management for excellence with transparency and accountability being the centre piece.
Other highlights include achievements made within this short period: The Service Level Agreement (SLA) approach for the health sector, the recently passed Bill in Parliament on the Post graduate medical training programme and the establishment of a Teaching Hospital Administration. Also on the pipeline is the National Ambulance System that would expand access to emergency transportation to health facilities, the revival of the Expanded Sanitary Inspection Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement (ESICOME) programme, and the coming in of foreign medical teams to boost the human resource for health sector.
Making his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, David Banya described the event as a new venture in the Post-Ebola Recovery era with the desire to achieve a positive engagement with all stakeholders.
This story was sourced from the Awareness Times website.