Wednesday, October 4

PHO confirms reduction of malaria cases in URR

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As part of their quest and efforts to eliminate malaria, the malaria control unit has embarked on a campaign of house spraying and distributing bed nets and in the Upper River Region (URR).

Omar Jallow, a Public Health Officer (PHO) at Basse District Hospital, revealed that URR recorded a high number of malaria cases before the beginning of the campaign, but assured that it has now been reduced.

“The country is still recording malaria cases and this is why we have distributed bed nets to several communities to help prevent them from the mosquito bite,” he said.
He added that the Long Lasting Insecticide-treated nets (LLIN) campaign led by the National Malaria Control Unit is intended to reduce the burden of malaria by distributing free LLIN to households.

According to him, the campaign to eliminate malaria has been described as an important approach to combat the spread of malaria annually. “It will reduce the lifespan of mosquitoes which causes malaria.”
Moreover, he pointed out that the programme has registered significant achievements as it has reduced the rate of recorded malaria cases in the region.
Momodou A. Jawo, regional vector control officer, in Basse, at the National Malaria Control Unit, under the Ministry of Health, described malaria as a deadly disease, saying they want to eliminate malaria in The Gambia as other countries have done.

“We are spraying houses where people sleep to stop the mosquitos. We have given bed nets to all the households in the Upper River Region,” he declared.
Mr. Jawo explained that the health ministry also has a Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) which is given to children between three to fifty-nine months (3-59), adding that the government is also conducting health promotion to create awareness among people so they could prevent malaria.
He further revealed that the campaign to eliminate malaria is in three phases; which include bed net distribution, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC).

Mr. Jawo highlighted the significance of all these stages in the fight to eliminate malaria, saying that all these stages are “very significant because they would help to stop the spread of the mosquitoes’ bite which causes malaria.”

Lamin Jammeh, data collector at the Ministry of Health, said they were collecting data to keep the information for future plans. “Through the data, the ministry will know what it has achieved and what more needs to be done.

“Data collection is key in the campaign because it will definitely help us. Without data, it will be very difficult to know who has benefited and the achievement recorded,” he noted.
Ousainou Mahanera, councilor of Gambisara Ward in Jimara Constituency, said the distribution of bed nets and spraying of the houses have reduced malaria cases in the region.

He added that the programme is very important and urged his people to give chance to the health workers to spray their houses.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female anopheles mosquitoes.

According to WHO, Gambia is one of the six countries in the World Health Organisation’s African Region that have achieved the 2020 milestones of reducing malaria cases and deaths by 40% compared to 2015.