Liberia’s Senate Health Committee Chair Dr. Peter Coleman is warning that the resurgence of malaria will make the country fall back on its feet from the progress made from 2010 to 2015, alarming that “malaria is coming back because of resistance” to treatment.
“We are afraid Mr. Program Manager that the resurgence of this disease will make us fall back on our feet from the progress we’ve made,” he said at the Paynesville City Hall in a keynote address Wednesday, 25 April during the launch of a mass distribution of insecticide nets.
Dr. Coleman says Liberia had almost 50 percent reduction of the burden of malaria which helped to reduce child mortality and was almost at the point of achieving Millennium Development Goal – 4 because of immunization and anti – malaria treatment.
“The statistics have shown that with the progress made between 2010 and 2015 we have observed a resurgence of the disease. That means malaria is coming back because of resistance, especially right now we are talking about resistance to ampicillin in Cambodia. That’s a serious problem,” he warns.
He tells Health Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah that she is just coming on board with the resurgence of malaria, saying it is a challenge to all health workers to roll their sleeves and double their efforts.
Dr. Coleman reveals that on an annual basis in sub – saharan Africa malaria deprives Africa of almost $5 billion dollars wealth that should be added to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Distinguish citizens of Liberia , if we can achieve progress, if we can make progress as far as combating malaria, there will be economic benefit us,” Dr. Coleman says.
According to him, the disease causes increased number of absenteeism from jobs, saying many African countries will benefit from economic progress if malaria is seriously combated.
He wonders if Liberians are really ready to beat malaria especially when they’re using mosquito nets to fix fishing nets for their wives and for other purposes.
Launching the 2018 mass net distribution campaign, First Lady Mrs. Clar Weah says government interventions over the years have reduced the burden of malaria, but the disease still remains a leading cause of highest mobility and mortality in Liberia.
Madam Weah says in pursuit of a goal of attending zero malaria death profile, government with support from the Global Fund, the President’s Malaria Initiative and the U.S. Government is vigorously identifying intervention in line with the national malaria strategic plan that calls for reduction in mobility and mortality in malaria by 50 percent by 2020.
Earlier, Plan Liberia Chief of Party Dr. Ibrahim Kamara said their aim is to achieve universal coverage in net campaign which he says is defined in Liberia as one net being available for every two persons in Liberia.
At the end of the campaign, he says the aim is that at least eight out every ten persons should be sleeping under the net, disclosing that the Ministry of Health led efforts with partners to ensure that the process was taken down to the 15 counties here.
Also speaking, Health Minister Dr. Wilhemina Jallah said the presence of First Lady Mrs. Weah speaks volume of government’s commitment to prioritizing the fight against malaria, adding that together everybody can defeat malaria.
For her part, U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Madam Christine Elder says to eradicate malaria, “we” must also increase access and efficiency to health services, noting that data shows that southeastern counties including River Gee, Grand Kru and Maryland have six times more malaria than Monrovia.
By Winston W. Parley