- Malaria is the leading cause of school and work absenteeism and significantly affects social and economic development in The Gambia, the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) Deputy Programme Manager Adam Jagne-Sonko has said.
She said malaria is still a major public health problem in The Gambia, accounting for over 40 percent of hospital visits, saying it also accounts for many deaths in the west Africa state.
According to the World Health Organisation, Malaria accounts for approximately 40 percent of public health expenditures in sub Saharan-Africa, ranging between 20 to 50 percent visits in highly endemic areas around the Central Africa.
Mrs Jagne-Sonko said African leaders need a forum to learn from each other’s experiences and support each others efforts, saying African states should collaborate to generate broad gains in the areas of development.
She said significant strides have been reached in the control and prevention of malaria in the country through the change of treatment policy and the provision of Coartem, a new malaria drug, in all public health facilities.
She said that the Gambia Malaria Policy has outlined key intervention areas ranging from malaria case management, malaria in pregnancy, partnership and social mobilisation, surveillance and research, monitoring and evaluation.
The Deputy Manager has also noted that there is a mass reduction in malaria incidence in The Gambia, including the increased access to effective anti-malarial drugs and increased community mobilisation and participation for malaria.
She said WHO has adopted a divided approach to ease the burden of malaria on women and children in endemic areas.
Malaria imposes an enormous economic burden on families, communities, and Africa’s health systems including the loss of productivity, according to WHO.
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