TANZANIA stands high in the fight against malaria with nearly half of companies that have joined the anti-malaria drive network in Africa being found in the country.
This was revealed in Dar es Salaam during a ceremony in which the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) joined the fight against malaria in collaboration with the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), United Against Malaria (UAM) and Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The UAM Southern Africa Regional Manager, Ms Anna McCartney Melstad said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the move by NSSF has brought companies that have joined the network in Tanzania to 33 out of 100 in Africa. She commended NSSF for joining the network saying that malaria is one of serious diseases the continent is facing, adding that over 12 billion US dollars is spent in treatment per annum.
"Malaria Safe Campaign guides companies on the best ways of playing a role in the fight, there are over 100 companies that have joined the fight in Africa and Tanzania leads with 33," she said. She invited more private owned companies and parastatals to join the fight and make malaria a history.
The NMCP Deputy Manager, Dr Renata Mandike, emphasised on the importance to adhere to expertise advice on ways of dealing with malaria. She noted that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has several initiatives to wipe out malaria including use of treated nets, spraying and campaigns against ponds which are mosquito breeding areas.
"Data shows significant achievements in the fight against malaria with the infection on under-five declining to 10 per cent from 18 in 2008. Also, the number of patients attending health facilities to seek treatment has increased," she said.
She said that efforts are also being made to distinguish normal fever and malaria, adding that already the government has introduced testing kits in health facilities. The NSSF Manager of Social Health Insurance, Dr Ali Mtulia said that the fund will provide treated nets to its 1500 staff and impart knowledge through various meetings with staff.
"We will also extend advocacy to our members who are nearly 550,000 and to over 19,000 employers in the country," he said. He added that the fund will also make sure that all its advertisement materials carry a special message on malaria.
The Ambassador of Malaria Drive, Mr Leodegar Tenga, commended NSSF for the move saying that joining the fight shows that the fund cares for its staff and members. "This way we will be able to shun the tradition of knocking doors for assistance and become self-reliant in the fight against malaria," he said.