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Monday, June 17, 2024

Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, Implement

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By Imam-Malik Aminu

As a responsible Community Health Promoter, It’s incumbent for me to write on this day, World Malaria Day in line with the theme “Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, Implement.”

Malaria has been a leading cause of morbidity and mortality across the world, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where children under five and pregnant women are highly vulnerable. The fight against malaria has been ongoing for decades, with significant progress being made through investment, innovation, and implementation. The achievement of zero malaria is an attainable goal, and it requires a sustained commitment to these three pillars.

Investment:

The journey towards zero malaria requires substantial investments in the health sector. This includes increased funding for research on malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Global health partnerships, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, have contributed significantly to the investments made in fighting malaria. Additionally, governments and non- governmental organizations have a critical role to play in increasing health financing allocations to malaria-specific programs.

Moreover, investment in health infrastructure is paramount. This ranges from the construction of malaria diagnosis centers, upgrading of laboratories, and building therapeutic centers for patients. Also, investment in training and development of the health workforce enhances the capacity of health workers to deliver quality malaria prevention and treatment services,

Innovation:

Innovation is a crucial driver of progress in the fight against malaria. Scientists and researchers have dedicated their time and energy to finding innovative solutions in malaria prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. For instance, new malaria vaccines are under development, which could reduce the malaria cases globally.

Furthermore, the use of new technologies such as genetically modified mosquitoes, which resist malaria, is also being researched. This innovative approach could reduce malaria transmission rates, thus contributing to the attainment of zero malaria.

Implementation:

Implementation of malaria interventions is critical to the delivery of zero malaria. Policies and strategies aimed at the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of malaria must be effectively implemented, supported by robust monitoring and evaluation systems. Community engagement is also essential through community health workers who raise awareness about malaria prevention and treatment.

Moreover, the distribution of long-lasting insecticide- treated bed nets and indoor residual spraying should be sustained. This will reduce malaria transmission rates, protect vulnerable populations and save lives. The integration of malaria programs with broader health systems and disease control programs, such as HIV/AIDS programs, would increase efficiencies and reduce costs, supporting the attainment of zero malaria.

Finally, a malaria-free-world is possible, and by investing, innovating, and implementing, we can eliminate this disease and save lives.

Imam-Malik Abdullahi is a Community Health Promoter. He writes from Borno state and can be reached via

abdullahiimammalik@gmail.com

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