* Launches ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ malaria campaign
* “The campaign launch itself is not enough; we have to go down and root out malaria in our communities”
By Robert Nayeja & Patrick Ndawala, MANA
President Lazarus Chakwera has officially launched a campaign dubbed ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ with a call to different partners to support government in ending malaria by 2030.
The President made the call during the launch ceremony on Tuesday at Liwonde in Machinga District where he asked the private sector, traditional leaders, religious leaders and communities at large to play their roles in eliminating malaria.
President Chakwera said malaria has affected thousands of pregnant women and children in the country to the extent that over 2,000 people die every year.
“Malaria kills six people every day, as such, we need collaboration so that we achieve a zero malaria nation, he said. “When I went in office 10 months ago, I promised to launch this campaign and I am glad that we have made it possible.
“But the launch itself is not enough; we have to go down and root out malaria in our communities.”
The Malawi leader further said malaria has badly affected the health sector such that a lot of money is invested in malaria alone, which “has put pressure on our health facilities and health workers”.
“Once we defeat malaria, our health workers will have 40% less work and the money that is allocated to malaria will be allocated to other development activities,” he said.
The president then urged people to follow all prescribed preventative measures of controlling malaria and ignore misconceptions that fuel the spread of malaria.
“Some people say sleeping in a mosquito net brings out bedbugs, which is not true. So, let us use the mosquito nets correctly so that we can defeat malaria.
“This year, my government will distribute over nine million mosquito nets, which signifies the commitment of my government to fight malaria.”
During the function, Chakwera praised Machinga’s Group Village Headman Mwikala of Traditional Authority Liwonde for making strides in the fight against malaria.
Mwikala is a model village in the fight to eradicate malaria, and through the village’s Community Action Group, it has managed to reduce the prevalence of malaria from 315 cases in 2013 to 31 in 2021.
The President, therefore, said GVH Mwikala’s commitment towards reducing malaria is an indication that ‘Zero Malaria Malawi’ is possible if all partners play their roles.
The Malawi leader then presented a certificate to the group village headman for his commitment towards the fight against malaria.
Chakwera then expressed gratitude to the US President Malaria Initiative, the Africa Union, World Bank, Global Fund, UNICEF and other partners for assisting in the fight against malaria in the country.
In her speech, Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said despite the country being affected by CoVID-19, her ministry was still fighting to reduce other diseases so that Malawians should remain healthy.
She said the launch of the malaria campaign was a clear indication of government’s committed to ending malaria by 2030 as agreed by African leaders-that all African countries should eliminate malaria by 2030.
“My ministry is calling upon all stakeholders to take part in the fight against malaria so that we should not lose anyone due to malaria,” Chiponda said.
Speaking earlier, USA President’s Malaria Initiative team leader, Monica Bautista, said it was sad Malawi continues to lose people due to malaria which is preventable and treatable.
She, therefore, pledged that the USA would continue supporting Malawi in the cause of fighting malaria.
“A lot of women and children have been killed by malaria in the sub Saharan Region. So, there is need for strong universal commitment on coverage of malaria to stop it from killing more people,” she said.