THE Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) has commended strides that have been made by the Zimbabwean government and partners such as Global Fund in the fight to end malaria.
By Tanaka Moyo
The Global Fund partnership provides 56% of all international financing for malaria and have invested more than US$13.5 billion in malaria control programs since the year 2002.
In his their statement to celebrate this year’s Malaria day under the theme ‘Zero Malaria, Draw the line against Malaria’, CWGH’s Executive Director, Mr Itai Rusike said the partnerships between government and partners since the year 2000 had greatly saved millions of lives.
This is a huge success resulting from concerted efforts by Government, partners and multilateral institutions such as Global Fund partnership. Half of the world still lives at risk of malaria.409,000 people died from the disease in 2019,” the statement reads. The world is still living under the risk of malaria with children under the age of five are the most affected.
“An estimated two thirds of these deaths are among children under the age of five. Every two minutes, a child dies from malaria. These statistics should make us restless, especially because malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. CWGH expressed a great worry as the struck of covid-19 is making the efforts to end malaria difficult as it is causing unnecessary deaths due to the COVID- 19 restrictions and regulations,” said Mr Rusike.
He added that malaria continues to cause needless deaths and the prevailing COVID- 19 pandemic has complicated efforts to end malaria.
“The COVID- 19 pandemic and restrictions related to the response caused disruptions to essential malaria services. Initial messaging targeted to reduce coronavirus transmission advised public to stay at home if they had fever, potentially disrupting treatment for those who may have had malaria and needed treatment.
“The lockdown also slowed down malaria prevention distribution of mosquito nets. This disruption to malaria prevention and treatment will increase deaths from the disease and potentially lead to surge in deaths in subsequent years. The fight against malaria must remain a priority to protect the progress made to defeat the disease. This calls for high impact investments in education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment, including research and development. Key to fighting malaria is building stronger health systems, which have been weakened further by onset of COVID-19.”