IOM Supports Cross Border Campaign to Eliminate Malaria in Southern Africa

Report
from International Organization for Migration
Published on 11 Apr 2014

Malaria is a major global public health problem affecting over 109 countries globally and ranked as the fifth cause of deaths among communicable diseases worldwide. Because of increasing internal and cross-border movements of people, Southern Africa is one of the world's high-risk malaria zones.

IOM will now back a cross border and regional campaign to reduce and eliminate malaria transmission in targeted border districts within the southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

The campaign, Racing against Malaria (RAM 2), seeks to raise the profile of malaria at community level, increase public awareness of the disease and its burden on the population, and mobilize resources for strengthening malaria control.

The 17-day campaign, covering 15 SADC countries, will be launched by Malawi President Joyce Banda in Lilongwe, Malawi, on Monday 14 April.

It will promote cross-border collaboration, active screening and early parasite detection, notification and rapid response, as well as care-based surveillance, especially in border areas.

Mobile populations, migrant workers and their families, particularly undocumented migrants, are often considered as “hidden or hard to reach” and face complex obstacles in accessing essential health care, including malaria prevention, screening and treatment, as they move between endemic or non-endemic areas.

“Malaria knows no borders and all efforts to control this fatal disease should take into account mobility, migration flows, and the vulnerability aspects of the entire migration process, as well as access to malaria prevention and treatment for migrants, mobile and cross-border populations,” says IOM South Africa Chief of Mission a.i. and regional migration health coordinator Dr. Erick Ventura.

According to the Regional Coordinator of the SADC Roll Back Malaria initiative, Dr. Kaka Mudambo, malaria prevalence in the region is still very high. In some Southern African countries there are between 200 and 300 cases per 1,000 people.

“While some countries and districts had managed to eliminate malaria, including Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and some districts in Zimbabwe, more still face daunting challenges. These countries require capacity strengthening and financial support, as well as guidance to reduce the local transmission of malaria to zero,” he says.

The campaign participants will include individuals, community members, national and international institutions who share the vision for a malaria-free Africa and seek to achieve malaria-free communities. These will include national programmes; laboratory scientists, technologists, and technicians; health workers, military health services, NGOs, IOs and the private sector.

RAM 2 will start with a campaign rally in Lilongwe, Malawi on 14 April 2014. Closing ceremonies are planned for 25 April 2014 in the Trans-Kunene area on the Namibia-Angola border.

For more information please contact Gaone Dixon, IOM Pretoria, Tel: +27721277094, Email: gdixon@iom.int or Campaign Coordinator Col. (Dr.) Kaka Mudambo, Tel: +267-3712714, Cell: +267-74248399, Email: kaka.mudambo@ifrc.org

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