Zanzibar — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has hailed Zanzibar for the strides it has made in the fight against malaria in Africa, describing the Isles as a model worth emulating in the world.
He also praised the government of Zanzibar for surpassing the target set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which requires that citizens access health services within a distance of five kilometres. Residents in the isles can now access the service within just three kilometres.
Mr Kikwete showered the praise here on Saturday while addressing the public at the inauguration of a modern hospital at Kibweni owned by the Special Zanzibar Anti-Smuggling Unit, KMKM.
Mr Kikwete, who was on a two-day official visit of the Islands, inaugurated the hospital as part of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution.
"During the 50 years of the revolution, Zanzibar has made progress in various sectors of the economy, which it should be proud of," the president said at the ceremony.
He cited the health sector as among areas where the government of Zanzibar has made significant achievements, especially in the fight against malaria.
"It is only Zanzibar that has been able to eradicate malaria in Africa; had it not been for international procedures, we could have safely announced that the Isles has totally eliminated the disease," the president said.
Earlier, Zanzibar Health Minister Juma Duni Haji said malaria was responsible for 3.1 per cent of all deaths in 2007, but the rate had now decreased to zero.
The minister noted also that during 2004/2005, the prevalence of malaria in the Isles stood at 44.6 per cent but as for now has dropped to below one per cent.
President Kikwete said he was pleased with the statistics and achievements which have been recorded in Zanzibar, as few countries in the continent have managed to record such progress.
He, however, urged the government not to relent in their effort to ensure that the achievements are upheld for generations to come.