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Livingstone, Zambia, November 9, 2005—The Honorable Sylvia T. Masebo, the Minister of Health of Zambia, announced today that 526,000 insecticide treated bednets and 500,000 retreatment tabs were formally handed over to the Government of Zambia at the launch of the Southern Africa Development Community(SADC) Malaria Week events in Livingstone, Zambia. These bednets and retreatment tabs were provided by the Malaria Control & Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) as a part of the official launch of the Government of Zambia’s 2006-2011 National Malaria Strategic Plan for Malaria Control.
MACEPA provides financial and technical resources to Zambia’s national plan to control malaria. MACEPA particularly focuses on strengthening the ability of health programs in Zambia to document how controlling malaria improves health status and increases economic productivity of families and communities.
MACEPA, a collaboration among PATH, the Government of Zambia and the Zambia Roll Back Malaria Partnership, was formally launched during the 58th World Health Assembly in Geneva in May of this year and is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
"The Zambia National Malaria Strategic Plan is ambitious and is serving as the pace-setter for malaria control across Africa,” said Dr. Kent Campbell, the director of MACEPA. “The leadership of the Government of Zambia and Ministry of Health has catalyzed a dynamic national partnership. We still have much to learn about controlling malaria, and PATH is honored to have the opportunity to learn with the Government of Zambia and the Zambia Roll Back Malaria Partnership."
Senior leadership from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PATH lauded the leadership of the Government of Zambia and the nation’s commitment to protect all of its citizens from the crippling burden of malaria during SADC Malaria Week events this week. The goals of the strategic plan include the rapid scale-up of delivery of proven malaria control strategies throughout the nation (including insecticide treated bednets or indoor residual household spraying to all households in the next three years) and emphasizes prompt and effective treatment (including the current availability of the new first line drug for malaria, Coartem, free in all public health facilities) to reach at least 80 percent of Zambia’s population and to cut deaths due to malaria by 75 percent within three years.
“We applaud the Government of Zambia and the Zambia Roll Back Malaria Partnership for developing a national plan to stop malaria as a major killer of Zambia’s children,” said Dr. David Brandling-Bennett, a senior program officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Zambia has made great strides against malaria, and it is our hope that the achievements realized here will inspire other African nations to do the same.”
"Today, the Government of Zambia has announced that it will take bold action in the fight against malaria,” said Dr. Chris Elias, the president of PATH. “The Government’s commitment is unparalleled, and we are proud to work in close partnership to realize this shared vision of a malaria-free Zambia.”
The Honorable Sylvia T. Masebo said that the deaths of Zambian children due to malaria are unacceptable and preventable. This has mobilized her government to take aggressive action to fight malaria.
“No mother should have to suffer the loss of her precious child due to a disease that can be prevented,” Masebo said. “And no family should suffer illness and loss of wages or education due to a disease that can be prevented. Malaria kills more of Africa’s children than any other disease and yet we often find that our communities believe it is just an accepted part of life. I disagree. I do not accept that our people should have their future stolen by malaria. I am asking all of our people to join me in this fight so that we will have a malaria-free Zambia.”
The supply of treated bednets and retreatment tabs is an example of how MACEPA was able to identify a problem and provide an immediate solution. “We realized that due to the lack of global supply of long lasting bednets our shipment would not arrive in time for this malaria season,” Masebo said. “As a result, MACEPA went into action to provide bednets so that we can protect Zambians now and not wait until next year. Our Zambia Roll Back Malaria Partners have all mobilized around this goal and we are all committed to working together to get treated bednets out into communities immediately. We are all working together to benefit the nation.”
The Churches Health Association of Zambia will provide trucks and drivers for the transport of bednets to rural communities. New partners like United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme have also agreed to assist in the distribution of treated bednets to refugee camps and to remote communities that are hardest hit by malaria in the Western and Northwestern Provinces of the country.
PATH is an international, nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions that enable communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. By collaborating with diverse public- and private-sector partners, PATH helps provide appropriate health technologies and vital strategies that change the way people think and act.