“The killer” was a threat not only to health but also to national development, as it affects productivity in society, Malaria prevalence is now just 0.2 percent and the country is on a clear path to ‘no new cases’ by the year 2020, according to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and The Global Fund published in today’s Point.
The two organisations in the forefront with the Gambia government supporting efforts and initiatives to eliminate what used to be the biggest public health concern in the country. This is apparently the most pleasing news of the year, probably second to only the unexpected peaceful exit of the former President Yahya Jammeh.
The Gambia set a sample of how to get rid of a brutal dictator peacefully; it is also setting a record of in the fight against malaria thanks to international investment and a strong Gambian-led campaign. Before now, about 11 percent of total deaths registered annually in The Gambia are caused by malaria, according to the World Health Organisation data published in 2014. For children, one in five used to die before their fifth birthday, mostly due to preventable childhood diseases, including malaria, the primary killer of young children. Many children who survive an episode of severe malaria may suffer from learning impairments or brain damage, according to research findings.
According to statistics, Gambia’s landmark achievements in malaria control and prevention include: malaria parasitic prevalence decreased by 95 per cent, from 4 percent in 2010 to 0.2 percent in 2014, and malaria infections fell by 50 per cent across all regions between 2011 and 2016. Like the health minister, Ms Saffie Lowe-Ceesay, said we are proud that The Gambia has made major strides in its fight against malaria which makes “elimination of the disease now within sight – a first for a sub-Saharan African country”.
“Malaria eradication requires a 100% mindset of success. There are no 70% or 80% or 90% efforts that pass in malaria control and eradication. One single infected mosquito that escapes can go on to bring death to dozens of victims in its lifespan, lay more eggs and restart an outbreak that progresses from a few to dozens to hundreds”