World Malaria Day Commemoration at Chipungu in Zambia
April 25this an international observance day recognizing the global effort to control and eradicate malaria. Known today as World Malaria Day, it started out as Africa Malaria Day back in 2001 brought about by the need for African governments to gauge success of efforts to control spread of malaria and rise in mortality caused by the disease in African countries. Since the 2007 decision by the World Health Assembly to adopt Africa Malaria Day as the international observance day for malaria, and renaming it World Malaria Day, it has continued to be observed annually over the past ten years to maintain growing awareness of the global fight against the disease.
According to the latest World Malaria Report by the World Health Organization“no significant gains were made in reducing malaria cases in the period 2015 to 2017”– an indication of the levelling off globally of the advances in fighting malaria over the last ten years. Most malaria cases in 2017 the report reveals were in the WHO Africa Region with 92% of the cases or 200 million people. Of the 91 countries reporting indigenous malaria cases in 2016, 15 countries – all in sub-Saharan Africa, except India – carried 80% of the global malaria burden. 3 million of Zambia’s population of approximately 17 million people were diagnosed with malaria in 2016, with about 7% of the cases progressing to severe malaria.
In Zambia, the national strategic plan of response to malaria has been working through the Program for the Advancement of Malaria Outcomes (PAMO), a USAID-funded consortium that works with the National Malaria Control Centreto strengthen implementation of malaria control and elimination efforts. The Zambia programme of Action Africa Help International is a partner in the consortium involved specifically in; supporting proven malaria interventions in alignment with the National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan 2017–2021 of the Ministry of Health (MOH); strengthening management capacity of provincial and district MOH personnel to provide supervision and mentoring for improved delivery of proven malaria interventions, and; strengthening provincial and district Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) to improve data reporting, analysis and use for decision-making.
AAH Zambia carries out the intervention in Mwansabombwe and Chienge Districts in Luapula Province in the northern part of the country. As part of efforts to shore up the intervention AAH Zambia commemorated the World Malaria Day with an event at Piliashi and Kazembe villages in Chipungu, one of the sub-locations in Chienge with high cases of malaria nationally. Through the event information about prevention and control of malaria was passed on to the community by focal persons from the District Health Office including, the District Environmental Health Technologist and Environmental Health Officer. Also present at the event was the Councillor of Chipungu and Headman of Piliashi village who remarked on the need to eliminate the disease that is prevalent in the community.
A live band of boys and girls from the local church led a march within Piliashi and Kazembe villages to mobilise the community to the event. Drama, songs and dance performances in the local language was also used at the event to relay information about malaria transmission, prevention and elimination.