Malawi’s government will provide treated mosquito nets to half of its 18 million residents to help eradicate malaria by 2030.
The Minister of Health and Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, announced this on Thursday in Salima on the occasion of the Malaria Day of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the start of the mass campaign to distribute mosquito nets in 2021.
Chiponda said the government will ensure that “each of the targeted nine million citizens will share their mosquito net with someone else who will eventually protect at least the entire nation from malaria.”
Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda cuts a ribbon to start distributing the mosquito nets and is informed in a pavilion
The government will run the mass mosquito net distribution campaign in 2021 with the support of various local and international development partners, including: World Vision Malawi, Global Fund and UNICEF.
The beneficiaries are expected to use the mosquito nets over the next three to five years.
Chiponda said malaria remains a major public health threat that will require concerted efforts in Malawi and the SADC region to address.
“That is why malaria was one of the main topics of discussion at the three-day SADC ministerial conference in Lilongwe shortly before this event. Strategies were discussed to ensure that malaria was no longer a threat to public health by 2030.
“Africa spends around $ 12 billion a year on malaria. There are 400,000 malaria-related deaths annually in the SADC region. So, as SADC member states, we’re coming together to make sure we fight malaria head-on, ”Chiponda said.
Member State delegates to Thursday’s Salima events were led by SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Elias Mpedi Magosi.
A similar mass mosquito net distribution campaign was last carried out in 2018, when the Malawi government, through the Ministry of Health and the Global Fund, entrusted World Vision with distributing around 10.9 million mosquito nets to Malawians to prevent malaria.
World Vision Malawi party leader Bizwick Mwale said the organization saved money after the mass campaign and the Ministry of Health and the Global Fund allowed it to test indoor residual spray (IRS) in Mangochi district.
According to Mwale, the IRS intervention aims to reduce malaria incidences by killing dormant mosquitoes that carry malaria-causing mosquitoes.
“Since we launched the IRS campaign in Mangochi District in 2019, the lives of children in the district have been saved. The district recorded 380 cases of malaria out of 1,000 residents. In 2020, that dropped to 254 and today the district stands at 183, which is well above the national target for 2022.
“Based on these milestones, the Global Fund provided additional funding and the project expanded to Balaka and Nkhata Bay districts in 2020, where preliminary results also show good progress,” said Mwale.
According to Mwale, the 2021 IRS campaign began October 18 in Balaka district and October 25 in Mangochi and Nkhata Bay districts and will last 36 days.
“By November 9, 2021 (day 20 of the IRS campaign) nearly 245,000 eligible buildings had been identified in the 3 districts and of these 228,000 buildings / houses had already been sprayed from an overall target of 539,000 eligible buildings for the whole campaign.
“This corresponds to 42.3% and we are on track to achieve the goal of covering at least 85% of the target house structures. By the end of the IRS campaign, approximately 2.5 million people, including women and children, are expected to be protected from malaria, ”Mwale said.
In his remarks, SADC Executive Secretary Magosi called on Member States to put together their strategies, resources, efforts, traits and behaviors to eliminate malaria across the region.
“Member States should also ensure that policies and strategies and regulations are regionally oriented so that everyone actually acts accordingly. Resources must be used sensibly.
“There is also a need for more partnerships with all international cooperation partners so that they make the resources available to the Member States. As the SADC Secretariat, we will provide further strategies and tools to help Member States achieve their malaria elimination goals for 2030, ”said Mogosi.
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