HEALTH Deputy Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya said Government has set a goal to eliminate malaria by 2020 inline with the Abuja Summit in Nigeria of 2000.
He said Government through the ministry of health was committed to ending malaria for good through the deployment of evidence based interventions.
The minister said during this year’s World Malaria day held at Vulamukoko ground in Katete yesterday that the ministry had invested heavily in the implementation of cost effective interventions based on the national elimination strategy.
Dr Chilufya said ending malaria for good was possible adding that Government appreciates the strong partnership that exists in the country.
He said he was happy to observe that the country’s elimination agenda was Government led with support from various partners at the global,regional and local levels.
Dr Chilufya said Governments and partners have intensified malaria control and elimination interventions in their respective countries.
“This goal is in line with our 2030 National Development Plan goal which focuses on graduating our country from a low income to middle income country and highlights the need to invest in the health of citizens in order to attain meaningful development,”he said.
He said there was need to put in measures that would prevent importation of malaria cases beyond borders.
He said it was sad to note that every year,the country still records deaths due to Malaria.
He said according to the Health Information Management System (HMIS)data,malaria incidence in Zambia increaser from 230/1000 cases in 2010 to 335/1000 cases in 2015.
“However,it is gratifying that malaria deaths have reduced from 6,684 to 2,400 in the period 2010 to death and some districts are now achieving incidence rates below 100,”he said.
Dr Chilufya said he was hopeful that with the increased resources from Government and partners,strengthened health systems and community participation,regular progress reviews,re-strategizing and re-focusing of interventions for the destined to success.
He said Government has also launched the 2015 Malaria Indicator Survey(MIS)report which revealed useful results necessary for decision -making.
He said the 2015 MIS results show that Zambia has one of the highest coverage rates for Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets(ITNS) with 77 percent of households owning at ITN.
Dr Chilufya said the results further showed that the coverage of ITNS increased compared to 2005 when it was first introduced as the core intervention.
He said another core indicator that was measured during the survey was the percentage of households sprayed in the previous 12 months which stands at 28.9 percent in 2015.
He said the indicator showed low because deployment of the Indoor Residual Spraying(IRS) was targeted meaning not all structures was sprayed.
“Ladies and gentlemen,I am glad to note that households with at least one ITN or house sprayed was at 80 percent meaning that household members are protected by at least one of the two core interventions,”he said.
Dr Chilufya said Zambia through the leadership of President Edgar Lungu had achieved a lot in procurement of anti-malaria commodities.
He said elimination calls for 100 percent coverage of key interventions adding that the approach of implementing interventions in piecemeal would not help attain and elimination agenda.
Dr Chilufya said Eastern Province particularly Katete was chosen as an ideal venue following the district’s remarkable 50 percent reduction in malaria cases over a period of three year.
And World Health Organisation(WHO)regional director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said between 2000 and 2015,malaria cases and deaths due to malaria in Africa declined by 42 percent and 66percent respectively in the region.
Dr Moeti who was represented by WHO country representative for Zambia Dr Jacob Mufunda said although commendable progress has been made,malaria remains a major public health and development challenge.
He said the existing global solidarity for a malaria free world has been further enhanced through the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGS) to end malaria by 2030.
Speaking earlier,Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo who was represented by Chadiza District Commissioner George Phiri said the vision of the National Malaria Control Programme(NMCP) was to have a malaria free Zambia by 2020.
Mr Kasolo said the malaria incidence for the province had reduced from 491/1000 in 2014 to 377/1000 in 2015.
He said the incidence would continue to reduce further as long as stakeholders continue with the curative and preventative health measures.
He said Katete District sprayed 22,237structures out of 24,237 structures found bringing to coverage to 94 percent.
Mr Kasolo said additionally,in 2014 alone Eastern Province received a total number of 1,080,400 ITNS from World Bank for mass distribution.