In The Gambia, the successes achieved in malaria prevention and control has been enormous and has been recognized both regionally and globally, says WHO Country Representative Professor Jean Marie Dangou.
"The WHO and Roll Back Malaria Partners has identified The Gambia as one of the countries in the West African sub-region for accelerated progress towards Malaria Elimination," he stated.
Professor Dangou made these remarks on Tuesday at a local hotel in Brufut while celebrating Progress Towards Eliminating Malaria in The Gambia.
The WHO Country Representative said malaria is one of the most important tropical diseases that has caused devastation throughout the history of mankind. The WHO African Region which comprises 46 sub Saharan countries plus Algeria, he said, continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden, adding that in 2015, the region was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths.
Professor Dangou stated that the pathway towards malaria elimination in The Gambia has been paved. Malaria prevention tools, including insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying of insecticides and preventive therapies are powerful and cost-effective. Furthermore, he added, policies and strategies guidance for elimination are available, noting that what is currently required is increased funding and commitment to push forward progress in the fight against malaria in the country.
The Global Fund Regional manager, West Africa, Nicolas Cantau posited that Global Fund have been partnering with The Gambia since 2004 and have invested almost 150 million U.S Dollar in this country including 82 million to fight malaria.
He told the gathering that they need more success stories like The Gambia if they want to be able to achieve the mission of the Global Fund that is to eliminate Malaria, HIV among others. The Gambia, he added, is actually showing the way through the global future, thus they really need to congratulate The Gambia.
Mr. Cantau tasked the Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Programme to come up with an elimination plan that will include cross border programme between Senegal and The Gambia.
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Chief of Staff, Executive Vice President, Strategy and Organizational Development, Annemarie Reilly spoke at length on the significant of the forum. She noted that from 2004 to 2014, with generous technical and financial support from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the CRS and other partners, The Gambia's National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare saw the country's malaria parasite prevalence decrease dramatically from 4.0% in 2011 to 0.2% in 2014.