Member states of the East African Community are urged to harmonise policies to ensure elimination of malaria in the region.
The call was made by Dr Corrine Karema, the acting Director General of TRAC Plus, the national Centre for Treatment and Research for AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and other epidemics.
Karema believes that unless regional countries combine efforts and synchronise policies of fighting malaria, it will remain a major threat to people’s lives.
“We need to harmonise policies of fighting malaria at the regional level. Other neighbouring countries should also fight hard to eliminate this problem as we in Rwanda have done,” she said.
At the national level, Karema noted that malaria incidents are rapidly reducing, attributing it to the government’s intervention in spreading treated mosquito nets and accessibility to medical facilities made easy by the community based insurance.
“According to research conducted in 2009, 15 percent of the patients who went to health facilities, had malaria and the trend reduced last year to 7.8 percent and this is because people now use mosquito nets,” she noted.
She further pointed out that the public should use of mosquito nets to avoid infection.
Meanwhile, a new World Health Organisation report indicates that developing countries continue to be affected by diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria that are most likely to kill children under the age of five.
According to the report, in 2009, 40 percent of all child deaths were among new born (aged 28 days or less).
It also indicates that child mortality declined at 2.7 percent per year since 2000 as maternal mortality reduced by 3.3 percent per year since 2000.
Ties Boerma, Director of WHO’s Department of Health Statistics and Informatics acknowledged the need for every country to embark on developing strategies to address the problems.
“Everyone must develop a health system that addresses the full range of the health threats in all these areas,” he said.
The new report also shows that non-communicable diseases such heart diseases, stroke, diabetes and cancer now account for two-thirds of all deaths registered globally.
It further indicates that the control of risk factors such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet and excessive use of alcohol have become critical.