SADC urged to fight malaria collectively

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Sharon Kavhu

Windhoek - Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, has urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states to continuously work together in combating malaria, which is affecting and killing many people in the region.

Malaria is defined by MedicineNet as an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito or by a contaminated needle or transfusion.

In her opening remarks during the SADC Elimination 8 initiative dinner at Avani Hotel on Wednesday, Nandi-Ndaitwah said SADC member states should combine efforts in the fight against malaria through strengthening broader collaboration, collectively working together and sharing experiences.

“We all know that malaria claims more lives in Sub-Saharan Africa than any other disease and yet we do not know that malaria is both preventable and curable. Therefore, why should we continue to allow the most vulnerable members of our society, especially children under five and pregnant women to die from a disease that we have the means to eliminate? If we work together, we can certainly achieve more,” said Nandi-Ndaitwah.

She said the progress or failure of one country’s efforts to eliminate malaria is connected to the success of other countries in the region and such revelation gave birth to the organisation, Elimination 8 (E8).

The E8 initiative dinner was attended by SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Tax, various ministers and permanent secretaries of SADC member states and other senior officials.

E8 was formed after the Africa Malaria Campaign, which was launched in 2007 by the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Health, committed to a gradual movement from malaria control to elimination by 2030.

Spearheaded by eight SADC member states, namely Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, eSwatini, Madagascar, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, E8 was established with the focus on Zanzibar. The organisation was established to coordinate the collaborative effort, led by the ministers of health in the eight countries.

In 2009, the eight countries held the first series of high-level coordination and consultation meetings intending to lead to the elimination of malaria by 2030. During that meeting, Namibia was nominated as founding Chair of the SADC E8 initiative and it was established that a specific country will hold the chairpersonship for three years before rotating.

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