By Nyima Sillah
The Malaria Control Unit under the Ministry of Health has embarked on a 10 days campaign in the Upper River Region (URR) in an effort to mitigate malaria in the country.
Among their campaign programs is the distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticide Net, spraying households, and giving SMC to kids between 3 months to 59 days.
In his remarks, Momodou A Jawo, the Regional Vector Control Officer in Basse said the activity they are doing is called IRS and the program was introduced by the malaria program unit to spray households, adding that initially, they were also doing another program called the LLIN that was jointly shared between the CRS and the malaria control unit where they were going round to give nets to households.
“After the IRS we will have the SMC which is another intervention that the government is taking to make sure that we eradicate or eliminate malaria in this country and SMC is given to kids between the age of 3 months to 59 months. These are all programs’ gears towards how we can eliminate or eradicate malaria in the country,” he explained.
According to him, the 10 days program was covering the whole of URR where there are 7 catchment areas and each of these areas is an operational area, meaning that is where all the activities, planning, and movement are done.
He said every campaign that the government brings in is in the interest of the people. “Let the people see it as their own so that it can benefit everyone because even if the government brings it and the community did not take ownership, it may not last long,” he said.
Despite all the preventive measures, he said, the government is putting up a theory whereby if one is tested positive, such person will be given medicines.
In the same development, Omar Jallow, a Public Health Officer in Basse District Hospital, there are a lot of malaria cases, especially during the rainy season because malaria is considered a seasonal disease that is from June to October.
“The malaria control program under the Ministry of Health is doing a lot with regards to malaria elimination. This campaign has reduced the rate of malaria compared to 2011 the rate was high like 4% but now it has reduced to 0.2%. So, from 2011 to date, we have seen the reduction of malaria in our health level,” he disclosed.
“We encountered some challenges with regards to beneficiary side like the demand side from the community level because in the inception we have registered some refusals. Although We still have some community members or some beneficiaries that are still refusing especially with regard to the IRS. Some said it stains their wall and increase the number of mosquitoes. All these are challenges that we are facing.”
“The Data Collector at the Ministry of Health, Lamin Jammeh, said “data assists malaria control program in terms of communication, it indicates the number of people benefited from every household and those that are yet to benefit. Which is used as a reference and assist the Ministry to know their achievements and the following steps,” he noted.
Ousainou Mahanera, the Councilor of Gambisara Ward welcomed the campaign saying it has a lot of positive impact in his region in terms of eliminating malaria, and that the program is very important as it does not only eliminate mosquitoes but other hidden insects in the houses.