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World Malaria Day marked in Somalia with commitment to reduce infection rate further

By United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
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UNICEF Somalia has pledged its support to efforts to work towards virtually eliminating malaria to mark World Malaria day today.

The malaria prevalence in Somalia has dropped dramatically since 2009 when more than a quarter of Somalis (27.3) were infected to fewer than two percent of the population in 2014.

Malaria remains endemic in most parts of the Central and Southern regions and in some areas in the north with other areas being prone to epidemics.

Since 2006, with support from The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNICEF in collaboration with World Health Organisation and Somali local organizations have supported the Ministries of Health for malaria control and elimination. From 2015 to date more than 600,000 Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs) have been distributed. By 2017 3 million nets will be distributed meaning universal coverage in endemic zones.

In 2015 more than 20,000 of confirmed malaria cases were treated with anti malaria drugs. In locations prone to epidemics 22 villages in Somaliland, 3062 households in the South and Central areas and 4658 households in Puntland have been sprayed with insecticides and populations given information about protecting themselves from mosquito bites.

“On this World Malaria Day, we would like to remind everyone of the need to keep up the fight against malaria even though it has been decreasing,” said Dr Anirban Chatterjee, UNICEF Somalia's Chief of Health. “We advise all Somalis particularly pregnant women and children under-fives to always sleep under bed nets and to seek treatment as soon as they have any symptoms.”

UNICEF is committed to increase coverage of malaria prevention and case treatment intervention in order to reach less than 1% of prevalence in Central and Southern areas and near zero prevalence in northern parts of the country. This will be achieved with WHO and local partners under the leadership of the Ministries of Health and together with other UNICEF programmes.

Background

World Malaria Day was established in May 2007 by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, WHO's decision-making body. The aim ofWorld Malaria Day isto provide education and understanding of malaria as a global scourge that is preventable and a disease that is curable and this year's theme is “ End malaria for good”. There were an estimated 214 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2015, and an estimated 438 000 deaths. Approximately 90% of all malaria deaths occur in Africa.

About UNICEF Somalia

UNICEF has been working in Somalia since 1972 and today has over 300 staff working in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Garowe and Hargeisa. Together with 200 international and national NGOs and community-based organizations, UNICEF delivers services in Health, Nutrition, WASH, Education and Child Protection, responds to emergencies and supports peacebuilding and development.