Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Zantel Touts Stepping Up of Anti-Malaria Campaign

INTERNATIONAL and local corporate bodies have been urged to support the government initiatives in preventing and treatment of malaria by coming together in Malaria Safe Initiative.

The Initiative is an ambitious programme to empower the private sector to promote prevention and treatment services of malaria in the workplace.

Safe Initiative was developed by Voices for a Malaria Free Future Project of the Johns Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes, under the United Against Malaria Campaign (UAM).

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Zantel, a telecom company, Mr Pratap Ghose, said the private sector players have a role to reverse bad effects of malaria and considerably reduce the effects of the disease. "Let other companies join us in this initiative for best results," he said.

Talking during this year's World Malaria Day event in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, Mr Ghose said since becoming a Malaria Safe Company in July last year, Zantel has appointed peer educators to educate their fellow staff on malaria.

The company has distributed Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets to their 500 employees and thus arming them to defend themselves from the deadly disease.

Malaria Safe Companies invest in malaria control for their employees, families and communities by conducting activities under four pillars that are protection, education, visibility and advocacy.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, Mr Mizengo Pinda, the Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Suleiman Rashid, commended the companies and development partners for taking seriously initiatives to fight malaria.

The Minister said other companies should join the campaign to make it successful and sustainable and that the measure will help the government to achieve the set objectives.

Dr Seif said that the country has for the past five years (2008-2013) witnessed reduction of malaria transmission for 50 per cent, from 18 per cent in 2007/8 to nine per cent in 2011/12.

The Tanzania Mission Director, USAID, Sharon Cromer, said malaria can only be eliminated through a comprehensive multi-sectoral fight.

"I commend the private sector for taking the initiative to help in this most noble fight," she said. Over 100 African private sector companies in 12 countries are implementing the Malaria Safe Companies Initiative.

In Tanzania there are over 37 companies implementing the programme, making the country having the highest number of active companies taking part in the initiative.

The world-wide theme for World Malaria Day this year was: Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria. Malaria kills 60,000 Tanzanians a year.

The disease costs Africa $12 billion USD a year, through lost production, absenteeism and loss of revenue. Some estimates put average African household spending on malaria at over 10 per cent, greatly inhibiting families' ability to contribute to the economy.

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