(May 6, 2022, Paynesville City, Liberia)—In observance of World Malaria Day (WMD), held each year April 25, USAID Health Office Director, Madam Jessica Healey, said Liberia has made significant progress in the previous five years, eradicating malaria.
She spoke at the WMD in-door program held May 6, 2022, in Paynesville, at the City Hall, where she stressed, “malaria deaths have decreased by 67 percent, from 914 in 2007, to 300 in 2021, and [that] the number of confirmed cases has reduced by 15 percent, from over a million to around 900,000.”
Even though she said significant progress has been made in the last five-year, Madam Harley maintains “despite advances, malaria remains Liberia’s most serious public health problem and the leading cause of child fatalities.”
The USAID Health Office Director said a number of people and caretakers with children do not seek care early when they fall sick, and do not consult the community health assistants, something she said is as a result of many people self-medicate with counterfeit and poor drugs, also failing to acquire mosquito nets during mass distribution programs.
For his part, C. Stanford Wesseh, Assistant Minister of Vital Statistics who represented the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah recommended that people use mosquito nets to avoid coming down with the killer disease, malaria.
He said, “it has been demonstrated to be cost effective, sleeping under a mosquito net, and [seeking] early medical attention [which] saves money.”
Mr. Wesseh pledged the Ministry’s commitment in ensuring those in hard-to-reach areas have access to mosquito nets and anti-malaria commodities at all facilities, particularly public health facilities, causing patients to seek medical attention and adequate care.
“As we strive to end malaria we know that in an under-resource country it is very difficult but there are effective interventions that we all can implement to ensure that we end malaria,” he said.
Also, Dr. Moses Jeuronlon, World Health Organization malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV Program Officer said despite a slowed rate of progress in reducing malaria incidences and deaths, as well as the delays by COVID-19, Liberia is much further ahead than it was in 2000. However, he said,” we need to reignite that momentum and build on the recent advances.”
Held under the theme: ‘Advance Equality, Build Resilience, End Malaria”, the WMD began with outdoor festivities on April 25, 2022, supported by USAID Social Behavior Change activity, Breakthrough ACTION Liberia, and partners supporting the Ministry of Health, including: UNICEF, World Health Organization, Last Mile Health, Roll Back Malaria and Plan International.
These initiatives were held as a result of ensuring malaria is eradicated. It began with a month of enormous social mobilization efforts and interagency sports tournament, as well as talk shows on four radio stations, including ELBC, Truth FM, OK FM and ECOWAS.
The event on May 6, 2022, culminated with a parade from the Ministry of Health premises in Oldest Congo, to the Paynesville City Hall where an indoor program was marked by speeches.
During the parade, officials from the Ministry of Health and partners chanted “Zero Malaria starts with me”.
Malaria according to the World Health Organization, is the greatest cause of disease and deaths in Liberia, accounting for 46.9% of hospital outpatients in 2020. The condition is especially likely to affect children and pregnant women, prompting much attention around malaria interventions.