Afghanistan Moves Fast in Control of Malaria

Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Afghanistan

April 25, 2009

April 25 is a day of unified commemoration of the global effort to provide effective control of malaria around the world. The slogan for the World Malaria day in 2009 is Day to Act. This year's World Malaria Day marks a critical moment in time. The international malaria community has merely two years to meet the 2010 targets of delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to all people at risk of malaria.

Afghanistan has gained enough ground in fighting malaria in the past 7 years. From 2002 to 2008 a remarkable reduction has been made in malaria cases in Afghanistan. The killer type of malaria, for example has reduced from 84528 cases in 2002 to 4355 cases in 2008 said Dr. Sayed Mohammad Amin Fatimie, the Minister of Public Health. He also added: In addition to development of national strategic plan, establishment of training and research institute, implementation of different research projects, establishment of national surveillance system and conducting of comprehensive training programmes at different levels, entomology section has been also established in Kabul to study the species of vectors for Malaria and Leishmania. Study of different types of Plasmodium Malaria has been also done. To increase awareness among families, 600,000 notebooks, posters and brochures with vital messages have been distributed through schoolchildren. We are also enforcing our efforts to participate in the counting down towards control of malaria in Afghanistan as part of global efforts for elimination and eradication of malaria

More than 1.3 million impregnated bed nets have been distributed throughout the country and 30 laboratories for the diagnosis of malaria have been established in Laghman, Baghlan and Takhar provinces during last 2 years. 10 research studies have been done and more than 2400 health staff has been trained during last 1.5 years.

Malaria is a deadly mosquito-born disease, which takes almost one million lives per year and afflicts as many as half a billion people in 109 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Every minute, two children die from malaria. Malaria plagued Europe and North America as recently as 60 years ago. Simple public health measures were crucial to eliminating the disease and helping those regions achieve growth, prosperity and stability.

A dramatically expanded access to core anti-malaria interventions like bed nets, spraying, diagnostics and effective drugs will result in a sharp decline of malaria cases and deaths. However, these measures will not eliminate the mosquito and the favorable environmental conditions for transmission in many countries and regions. In some countries with naturally high transmission rates, control measures may need to be maintained for 15- 20 years or longer until new tools enabling elimination are developed or new research indicates that control measures can be safely reduced without risk of resurgence.

Today, for the first time in 50 years, the international community is poised to win the fight against malaria worldwide. Effective, low-cost tools exist to prevent and treat the disease and new and improved tools are currently being developed and tested. A consensus global action plan has been put forth to guide a coordinated international effort to control, eliminate and eventually eradicate malaria. A robust partnership, uniting all key actors and stakeholders in malaria control, is in place to respond to challenges that no organization or government can face alone.

The next two years present a rare window of opportunity to save a million lives by rapidly delivering malaria interventions - protective nets, diagnostic tests, antimalarial drugs and indoors spraying - to all people at risk of the disease and to pave the way towards virtually ending deaths by 2015. Each of these deaths is avoidable. Join the worlds largest international effort to end malaria deaths. The countdown has begun.

Counting malaria out

MoPH Afghanistan is indebted to many individuals and health stakeholders, especially Afghan families and elders, health care providers, the USAID, the World Bank, the European Commission, Global Fund, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, Rotary International, CIDA, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance) and JICA and many other individual organizations and countries.

Ministry of Public Health delivers health services impartially and without any form of discrimination to the needy people of Afghanistan in all corners of the country and requests all parties to respect this policy and support health care providers to fulfill this noble job.

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