Liberia, Partners Reaffirm Commitment to Fight Malaria

Monrovia – The Ministry of Health and its partners have reaffirmed their commitments to intensify the fight against malaria, which remains the deadliest killer disease in Liberia and the African continent.

The Ministry and partners made the pledged at a program marking the celebration of World Maaria Day.

World Malaria Day is an international observance commemorated every year on 25 April and recognizes global efforts to control malaria.

Serving as the keynote speaker at the event held at the Paynesville City Hall over the weekend, USAID Health Office director, Jessica Healey said the country has made tremendous efforts towards ending malaria in the last five years, but still, more need to be done to combat the disease.

She said malaria attributable deaths have reduced by 67% from 914 in 2007 to 300 deaths in 2021 and 15% decrease in the number of confirmed cases from over a million confirmed cases to around 900,000.

Despite the reduction, Malaria is a leading cause of illness and death in Liberia, accounting for 46.9% percent of hospital outpatients in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. Children and pregnant women are most likely to come down with the disease.

Ms. Harley said despite the progress, malaria remains the most severe public health burden in Liberia and the leading cause of deaths in children.

“A number of people and caretakers got children do not seek care quickly when they fall sick and do not consult the community health assistant,” she said.

According to director Harley, a lot of people are self-medicating with counterfeit and substandard medicines and many people fail to go for mosquito nets during mass distribution.

“Liberia data shows that only 40% of Liberians have access to bed nets,” she adds.

“Since 2018 the U.S government has procure over 3.6 bed nets to prevent malaria infection before treatment, 27 million medicines to treat malaria and 2.8 million drugs to prevent malaria infection in pregnant women,” Ms. Healey said.

“A number of people and caretakers got children do not seek care quickly when they fall sick and do not consult the community health assistant,” she said.

Held under the theme ‘Advance Equality, Build Resilient, End Malaria, Ms. Harley pledged the U.S government’s support through the President Malaria Initiative to advance equality by expanding services to reach the disadvantaged and difficult to reach population.

Meanwhile, the event commenced with a parade from the Ministry of Health’s compound in Oldest Congo Town; with marchers chanting ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’’ educating the public about the disease.

Assistant Minister of Vital Taxation, C. Stanford Wesseh, who proxy for  Health Minister, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, encouraged the public to make use of the mosquito nets to avoid contracting the disease.

Mr. Wesseh said “Sleeping under a mosquito net has been proven to be cost effective and seeking early care.”

He pledged the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring that those in hard-to-reach areas have access to the nets and ensuring that anti-malaria commodities are available at every facility, especially public facilities, so that patients who seek health care receive quality and adequate health services. 

“As we strive to end malaria we know that in an under-resource country it is very difficult but there are effective interventions that we all can implement to ensure that we end malaria,” he said.

 Individually, he added “we can take the necessary actions to avoid malaria. As we speak today, there are thousands of people lying from malaria as we speak but ending malaria starts with us, as governments and individuals.” 

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