As Namibia observed World Malaria Day with the rest of the world on Tuesday, Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku highlighted Namibia’s achievement in controlling malaria since Independence.
In 2001, Namibia recorded over 1,700 malaria deaths, Haufiku who attended the official commemoration of World Malaria Day in Ohangwena Region, said. Since then, deaths as a result of malaria were cut by 95 percent. Last year, 87 malaria deaths were recorded.
“Still, these 87 lives lost are too many,” Haufiku said.
Similarly, malaria incidence has declined by 96 percent from 2001 until 2016. “With such momentous progress, the Ministry of Health and Social Services continues to strive to ensure that no one in Namibia should die of malaria in this age of innovative interventions,” he said.
Eliminating malaria is part of the Health Ministry’s strategy for sustainable health and development, the minister added.
“Through its impact on child development and educational outcomes, malaria elimination will improve the productivity and growth of our country, freeing up much needed resources for other critical areas of development,” Haufiku said.
He added that internal analysis from the Health Ministry’s team estimates that over 4.2 million cases and 14,000 deaths have been averted since 2004 through collective efforts.
“We are not without challenges and the challenges of malaria elimination are not small,” Haufiku reminded his audience.
Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Swaziland are part of the sub-regional strategy and have been working together to attain “zero local transmission” in order to ultimately see the disease eliminated completely from southern Africa.
This year’s World Malaria Day commemoration was themed: ‘End Malaria for Good’.