Arusha — LIBERIAN President Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called upon African states to emulate Tanzania's example in establishing malaria combating projects.
Africa's first female president made the call in Arusha shortly after visiting a factory that manufactures insecticides impregnated bed nets here on Thursday. The project is a joint venture between Sumitomo Chemicals of Japan and the Arusha-based A-to-Z textile mills.
Ms Sirleaf, who is also the chairperson of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), used the occasion to officially inaugurate a Malaria Research Centre which is located within the factory premises at Kisongo in the outskirts of Arusha municipality.
The Liberian president was of the view that if more bed-nets were produced on the continent hand in hand with other malaria fighting projects, it would be possible to totally eradicate the disease in Africa.
The Africa Tropical Research Centre Director, Dr Johnson Odera, said that in addition to doing research on tropical diseases, the centre was also involved in coming up with effective agricultural studies, precisely herbicides.
President Sirleaf said that ALMA was looking forward to containing malaria infections to zero per cent by 2015 in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target Number Six on halting HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases by 2015.
According to her, malaria infections in the continent had been reduced by 33 per cent over the past three years."Our determination at ALMA is seeing to it that malaria infections are scaled-down to zero per cent by 2015," Ms Sirleaf said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Mr Kikwete noted that 83 per cent of all malaria patients in the world are from Africa and that communities at grassroots level have a role to play in curbing the pandemic.
"Worse still, 89 per cent of all malaria related deaths globally are from Africa. In Tanzania, however, we have managed to reduce malaria infections by almost 50 per cent during the past three years," he said.
He attributed the reduction to free distribution country-wide of nine million treated mosquito nets to children under five years of age as well as provision of 17 million mosquito nets to families.
The Liberian president later on Thursday met with President Jakaya Kikwete at the Kilimanjaro International Airport where the two heads of state held discussions briefly before President Sirleaf flew back to Monrovia.