West Africa’s malaria elimination campaign gets a big boost
The ground breaking ceremony for the construction of three factories in West Africa to produce biolarvicides under the regional Malaria Elimination Campaign Programme took place in Abidjan on 28th February 2013, on the margins of the 42nd Ordinary Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government.
The ceremony, which formally marked the beginning of the processes for the construction of the factories, included the unveiling of a plaque by the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, President Alassane Outtara of Côte d'Ivoire and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo.
Official statistics show that in Africa, malaria has killed more people than all the wars in the continent combined with a child dying every 30 second from the scourge.
In addition, malaria, described as a disease of the poor as well as a major development challenge, kills more than 10,000 pregnant women and 200,000 of their infants every year in the continent, with the burden heaviest in West Africa.
This grim picture coupled with the fact that malaria accounts for around 40 percent of public health expenditure in endemic countries, and costs Africa some 12 billion US dollars in lost productivity make the support for the ECOWAS Malaria Elimination Campaign all the more compelling.
However, the good news is that according the World Health Organizations (WHO) has recognized vector control which encompasses biolarviciding as one of the major effective strategies for malaria elimination The three West African biolarvicide factories are to be located in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria's Rivers State, with technical assistance of Cuba and the financial support of the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, under a tripartite agreement between the two countries and ECOWAS for the elimination of malaria in West Africa.
A tripartite agreement signed in 2009 focuses on the strengthening the vector control component of the region’s multi-sectoral malaria control strategy.
President Ouedraogo said the ceremony demonstrated the determination of regional leaders to win the war against malaria through the vector control programme that has been acknowledged as the World Health Organisation as the only mode of intervention that can reduce malaria transmission from its present high level to zero.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, President Ouédraogo extolled the efficacy of vector control component of the malaria control strategy and pledged that the Commission would support Member States in implementing it in the spirit of its vision of a people-centred regional integration agenda.
Pilot programmes using the vector control in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Nigeria have shown encouraging results with 75 per cent reduction in Accra over three years, a 63 per cent reduction in the Rivers State capital Port Harcourt, over two years, while Ouagadougou the Burkina Faso capital recorded a 15 per cent reduction during 15 months of application.