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Eradicating malaria in southern Africa requires collaborative effort

Targeting the elimination of malaria across southern Africa will require collaboration and teamwork, as well as effective implementation policies and greater community awareness, said experts at this year’s virtual 7th Malaria Research Conference, held last week.

“Malaria is not country specific; the mosquito knows no borders, nor does it respect any specific air space. Therefore, regional, and cross border collaborations and partnerships are vital to elimination,” said Health Minister Joe Phaahla in his opening remarks.

The gathering was hosted by the South African Medical Research Council Malaria Research Group (MRG) in collaboration with the National Department of Health under the theme “Control and Elimination amidst the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Phaahla said to attain South Africa’s goal to eliminate malaria by 2025, innovative technologies and relevant research were vital to guide implementation policies, reports the Cape Times.

Neighbouring countries like eSwatini and Mozambique were also aiming for malaria elimination, he added, “but success can only be attained through joint concerted efforts from all partners and governments”.

Organisers said although the event’s primary objective is to create a platform for experienced and emerging scientists to showcase their work, it also unites policymakers, public health practitioners and health officials, all focused on sharing ideas, expertise and lessons across organisations and countries in the areas of malaria disease prevention and control.

This year’s gathering centred mainly on the progress made towards achieving the National Department of Health’s goal of eliminating malaria by 2025 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Numerous countries, including South Africa, have initiated a malaria elimination agenda since the transmission of the disease has been drastically reduced, especially in the Southern African region.

Of the 16 SADC countries, eight are targeting elimination by 2030. Cross-border malaria, one of the thematic areas of the conference, poses a serious threat to South Africa’s elimination effort, so strengthening cross-border collaboration is vital and contributes to a greater body of knowledge and research.

Phaahla said it was imperative that more awareness was created within communities. “Advocacy and awareness campaigns within communities will help people understand the continued need for malaria control activities and interventions,” he added.


Cape Times PressReader article – Big regional effort needed to deal with malaria in Southern Africa (Open access)


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Malaria deaths could double this year if prevention is interrupted by COVID-19


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