Sierra Leone makes progress to end malaria for good

Sierra Leone was amongst the countries that commemorated World Malaria Day (WMD) on April 25th, 2017. The global theme for this year’s is “End Malaria for Good.”

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation under the National Malaria Control Programme has been making positive strides in ending malaria in Sierra Leone. To make this year’s World Malaria Day a memorable one, the Ministry of Health adopted a slogan “sleep under a mosquito net always.”

The overall aim of the WMD was to focus the attention of policy makers, donors, partners and the wider public on the need to sustain progress in malaria prevention and control and continue scaling up malaria interventions towards malaria elimination.

In a Powerpoint presentation on the status of Malaria Disease in Sierra Leone at the St Anthony Hall on Friday 25thApril 2017 on World Malaria  Day, the National Malaria Control Programme Manager, Ministry of Health and Sanitation Dr.  Samuel Juana Smith revealed that

Malaria is serious, and it can be fatal.

He said children under 5 and pregnant women are most vulnerable to malaria.

Malaria is still the leading cause of morbidity and mortality.

says Dr. Smith. He maintained that Malaria accounts for 38% of outpatient morbidity for all age group. It also accounts for 40% outpatient morbidity for U5 children.

The National Malaria Programme Manager continued to state from his presentation that malaria accounting for 37.6% of all hospitalization with a case fatality of 17.6%. Mortality attributed to malaria is 25% for U5 children. Mortality attributed to malaria is 16% for all ages in Sierra Leone.

From the global front, WHO 2016 World Malaria  Report states that children are especially vulnerable, accounting for more than two thirds of global malaria deaths. The report went on to states that malaria in pregnancy can lead to maternal mortality, anaemia and low birth weight, a major cause of infant mortality. WHO recommends intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy, known as IPTp, for all pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa living in areas of moderate-to-high transmission of the disease.

In order to prevent malaria spread among pregnant women, infants and the entire population, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation with support from Global Fund and DfID will distribute 4.3 million bed nets to all households across the country from 1st-10th June 2017. This was disclosed at the World Malaria Day Commemoration event by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

  • man delivering a speech
  • mother and newborn at the Kabala Government Hospotal
  • Senior Public Health Sister National Malaria Control Programme
  • newborn baby
  • Deputy Minister Health

This massive bed net distribution exercise that will commence in June is gear towards the ultimate goal of malaria eradication in Sierra Leone. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation has committed to reducing new cases of the disease by 40% by 2020 according the National Malaria Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

In order for the government to meet the above target it requires concerted actions from health professionals, partners, communities, families and individuals to ensure uptake of preventive measures and timely treatment for all.

Sister Wani Kumba Lahai Senior Public Health Sister National Malaria Control Programme Ministry of Health and Sanitation disclosed that as part of the country’s malaria control awareness and prevention strategy, pregnant women and suckling mothers with U5 children will be prioritized during the distribution exercise and all anti-malaria drugs at government health facilities are free of costs. 

During the commemoration of the World Malaria Day in Sierra Leone, the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation Madinatu Raman climaxed the event with the official launch of the 2016 Malaria Indicator Survey. The survey was done by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Statistics Sierra Leone, Global Fund and ICF. 

The survey report shows that knowledge of malaria in Sierra Leone is widespread. 98 percent of women have heard of malaria. Nine in ten women are aware that misquote bites cause malaria. 69% of women recognize fever as a symptom of malaria. 90% report use of treated misquote nets as a prevention method.

To End Malaria for Good in Sierra Leone, the National Malaria Control Programme seeks to raise awareness and intensify the fight against malaria prevention and control interventions using all available channels of communications.

Sleep under a bed net to help save lives.  

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