Latest survey on the malaria prevalence rate in Africa indicates that the continent accounts for 85 percent of malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths. The findings further revealed that malaria victims are mainly children less than five years of age and vulnerable women.
Revealing the statistics at a program commemorating the World Malaria Day held at the Samuel Kanyan Doe Sports Complex on Monday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is the Vice Chair for African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) said mosquito does not discriminate in the spread of the dreaded disease, attacking both adults and children alike.
“Just think about the number of times that you, your children, your friends and others have come down with the dreaded malaria. It’s almost a given, if you live in our part of the world! The mosquito that transmits malaria does not discriminate; it attacks adults and children alike, leaving its victims prone to a potentially fatal blood disease,” she said.
Notwithstanding, health authorities here are calling on the Liberian government to waive taxes on anti-malaria drugs and malaria programs coming into the country, as part of the fight against the disease to in helping to curtail malaria cases here.
Health Minister Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale made the assertion in support of a reported bail introduced by Edwin Gaye, before the 52nd National Legislature, calling for tax waiver on all anti-malaria drugs and malaria programs coming into the country.
According to the Chairman on Health at the Legislature, Edwin Gaye, the bail has received overwhelming support by his colleagues, but wanted a speedy passage as political campaigns are in the corridors of Liberia.
Dr. Gwenigale warned Liberians and medical practitioners against treating people who are not tested and proven to be malaria patients. According to him, there were other instances when people bought syrups or drugs which have no ingredients to treat malaria. He said: “We’ve special way to treat malaria; we like to treat people who are tested and proven to have malaria,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Liberian President has pledged government’s full support in the fight against malaria. She said in response to the unacceptable burden of malaria on human survival, many countries have implemented sound strategies and action plans.
Here in Liberia, she said malaria prevention and control is a major priority of National Health Plan and Poverty Reduction Strategy. According to Madam Sirleaf, government have prioritized ending deaths from malaria above many other pressing needs, for both health and economic reasons, saying they are on track to protect the entire population by year’s end.
“We are aware of the measures, both internationally and regionally, to fight this disease: In 1998, the World Health Organization launched the “Roll Back Malaria” campaign, proclaiming 2001-2010 as the Decade to Roll Back Malaria – the disease that causes the single largest number of illnesses and deaths. In 2000, world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit pledged to combat malaria, among other major diseases.
Under Goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goals, countries would, by 2015, have halted and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria through the use of bed-nets, treatment and additional external funding…,” she added.