The United Republic of Tanzania Friday announced the launch of its national campaign against malaria tagged: ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, as part of the continental ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ campaign, aimed at engaging political leaders to mobilize resources and funding for campaigns against malaria as well as empowering communities to hold governments accountable in the fight against malaria.
Zero Malaria Starts with Me is Pan-African campaign co-led by the African Union Commission (AUC) and RBM Partnership to End Malaria, supported by African Heads of State and Government. The RBM Partnership to End Malaria is the largest global platform for coordinated action against malaria.
Tanzania’s launch of the campaign was announced during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Malaria Day which was commemorated on the sidelines of the SADC Health Ministers’ Meeting held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; it seeks to mobilize political will, resources (particularly from local sources) and build community ownership in the fight against malaria.
With 40% reduction in mortality rates caused by malaria and 20% reduction of malaria incidences in the last 10 years across Africa, the continent could be said to have made a significant progress in the fight against the killer disease.
“However, WHO`s World Malaria Report shows that for the last two years, global malaria cases were on the rise. ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ aims to speed up progress by inspiring a continent-wide movement to drive malaria elimination,” said a statement by RBM Partnership adding that Tanzania accounts for 5% of global malaria deaths, making it one of the highest burden countries with 93% of the country`s population at risk of being infected with the disease.
Speaking at the launch of the Tanzanian campaign, CEO of the RBM partnership to End Malaria Dr Abdourahmane Diallo said: “We are thrilled that Tanzania has joined the ever-growing list of nations to declare Zero Malaria Starts with Me on SADC Malaria Day. As a high burden country, this is an important moment for Tanzania to make progress against the disease, and ultimately end malaria. Through this initiative, communities will be able to hold their leaders accountable in the fight against malaria, to ensure that much needed progress is driven.”
Also speaking at the launch, Tanzania’s Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Honorable Ummy Mwalimu noted that the launch of the ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’ campaign would build on sustained efforts aimed at ensuring that malaria prevention and treatment services were decentralized and reach all locations and areas in need across Tanzania.
“The campaign will foster partnerships and support our work in resource mobilization and [ensuring] accountability. However, to achieve effective results and eliminate malaria we need to ensure that we reach and mobilize our communities to be active champions in malaria prevention and treatment,” says Mwalimu.
By rolling out a national Zero Malaria campaign, Tanzania has taken the paths of 10 other African countries, namely; Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Eswatini, Niger, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Mauritania, and Mozambique; since the launch of the Pan-African campaign in July 2019, led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria and the African Union Commission (AUC). “We believe that we are stronger when we work together, and we hope that other high-burden nations follow Tanzania in stepping up the fight and joining our campaign to save even more lives from this deadly, but treatable disease,” said Dr. Diallo.
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