24 Mar 2014 14:50pm
WINDHOEK, 24 MAR (NAMPA) - Namibia will use funding of N.dollars 16 million from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to scale-up the countrys malaria prevention programme over the next three years.
This was the view of Health and Social Services Minister, Dr Richard Kamwi when he opened a two-day Southern African Development Community (SADC) Malaria-Eliminating Countries (E8) Technical Committee and Ministers meeting here last Wednesday.
More than 65 per cent of the funding is dedicated to strengthening community-level responses and surveillance systems over the next three years (2014-2016), he stated.
Kamwi noted that the effects of climate change and globalisation remain challenges in Namibia's quest to eliminate malaria. Extreme weather conditions like flooding continue to hamper the transportation of malaria commodities and access to health facilities and services.
Another area of concern is the decline in donor funding.
Speaking in his capacity as the chairperson of the E8 meeting, Kamwi then called on other E8 member states to dedicate their own governments spending, to advocate for domestic funding and to encourage local partnerships allround.
Namibia experienced its worst malaria epidemic during the early 1990s, which claimed around 7 000 lives.
The Health minister told Nampa on the sidelines of the event that his ministry registered between 700 000 and 800 000 malaria cases for a population of around 1 500 000 people during that period (early 90s), adding that some people contracted malaria between three and five times a year.
Kamwi said 10 years later, the Health ministry brought malaria cases down to around 200 000, but still about 1 300 people died from the disease.
During 2012, we recorded only 200 clinical cases, while the ministry only recorded four deaths, the minister added.
Another participant at the E8 meeting, Dr Joseph Mberikunashe from the Zimbabwean National Malaria Control Programme in Harare told this news agency that malaria in his country had also declined significantly, as for the past 12 years they witnessed a decline of 75 per cent in malaria cases in all age groups.
We used to record between 1,5 million to 2 million cases per year in the early 2000s with between 6 000 and 7 000 deaths, but now we record below 300 000 cases with less than 300 deaths per year, he noted.
Mberikunashe attributed this decline to multiple factors, like the involvement and support of funding partners like the Global Fund, as well as the Roll-Back Malaria campaign, which invested a lot in the high-burdened areas and districts.
Meanwhile, the E8 meeting concluded with a resolution that an E8 Coordinator be appointed by the end of next month to facilitate the implementation of the organisations Elimination Agenda.
Other decisions taken were for intensified resources mobilisation within the SADC region, including the E8 cross-border concept note of the Global Funds New Funding Mechanism; and the development of a tool for measuring the progress of control and elimination.
Zambia will host the next E8 meeting on a date to be announced soon.