Last Friday marked the World Malaria Day which is being observed under the theme; Malaria, a disease without borders and the sub-theme; Malaria- The Connection with other preventable diseases.
African Media and Malaria Research Network (AMMREN)a network of African journalists and scientists working together to eradicate malaria in Africa, applauds global efforts of governments and other stakeholders to Role Back Malaria in Africa.
As we celebrate this day AMMREN once again wishes to remind African leaders of their pledge in Abuja, Nigeria on April 25, 2000 to intensify efforts to half malaria mortality for Africa's people by 2010.
At that meeting 53 African Heads of States and Governments committed themselves to
• initiate appropriate and sustainable action to strengthen health systems to ensure that by the year 2005 at least 60% of those suffering from malaria have prompt access to, and are able to correctly use, affordable and appropriate treatment within 24 hours of the unset of symptoms'
• ensure that at least 60% of those at risk of malaria, particularly children under 5 years of age and pregnant women benefit from the most suitable combination of personal and community protective measures such as insecticide treated mosquito nets and other interventions which re accessible and affordable to prevent infection and suffering
• ensure that at least 60% of all pregnant women who are at risk of malaria, have access to Intermitted Presumptive Treatment (IPT).
Eight years down the line, not much has been achieved, not more than 60% of Africa's people suffering from malaria have prompt access to, and are able to use correct affordable and appropriate treatment within 24 hours of unset of the symptoms. 90% of the worlds malaria deaths of children under 5 years still occur in Africa
There is still no reduction in the 350-500 million global clinical malaria episodes resulting in more than one million deaths.
As Africans we should be worried that over 80% of the over 1 million deaths caused by malaria globally occur in our continent each year and that malaria remains the leading cause of under-five mortality.
Malaria still constitutes 10% of the continents over all disease burden and accounts for 40% of public expenditure, 30-50% of inpatient admissions and up to 50% of outpatient visits in the areas with high transmission
Absenteeism among school children and diminished r list worker productivity all contribute to make malaria a significant contributor to low economic growth in endemic countries, estimated at costing African countries about US$12 billion annually.
AMMREN therefore calls on heads of states and government in Africa to implement well- coordinated integrated country-wide progrrammes to drastically reduce the rate of malaria infection in Africa .
In particular we ask more money will be provided for malaria research to assist policy makers in their planning efforts towards malaria control.
We call on National Malaria Control Programmes in the various African countries to step up the efforts on malaria education to reduce the ignorance around the disease that result in unnecessary.
We call on major development partners to increase funding for malaria research and work with affected countries to agree on a global plan fore malaria.
AMMREN believes malaria can be eradicated with efforts from all fronts .
Malaria control is everybody's business and everybody must contribute.