09 October 2013

Report on SA's successful fight against malaria released

The South African Department of Health and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership released a new report today, documenting South Africa’s long and successful fight against malaria.


The South African Department of Health and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) released a new report, the RBM Progress and Impact Series – Focus on South Africa. The report documents South Africa’s decades-long, successful fight against malaria and highlights SA’s leading role in the goal to eradicate this disease, which claims over 600 000 lives globally every year. SA’s sustained and dedicated action has greatly contributed to the country meeting the sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG 6), which calls on countries to reverse the incidence of malaria. Over the period 2000-2012, malaria morbidity and mortality declined by a remarkable 89% and 85% respectively from 64 500 cases to 6 847 cases and from 460 deaths to 70 deaths.

Long and proud track record

“South Africa has a long and proud track record fighting this disease,” commented Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.  “We are proud to showcase our local expertise and scientific advancements in the Roll Back Malaria Progress and Impact Series. Thanks to our community of world-class scientists and the government’s sustained investment in malaria control, South Africa is now well on its way being a malaria free country,” said Dr Motsoaledi.

The burden of malaria has declined in recent years thanks to substantial increases in donor aid through both bilateral programs such as the US President’s Malaria Program, and multilateral initiatives such as the Global Fund. “The important message we should derive from the Focus on South Africa report,” said RBM Executive Director, Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, “is that it is crucial to maintain our investment in malaria control and treatment. Without continuing and ever increasing funding for our global programmes, we will lose ground against malaria.”

The foundations of South Africa’s malaria programme have been the judicious use of insecticides to control malaria carrying mosquitoes (known as vector control) and the use of highly effective anti-malarial medications, in conjunction with proper diagnosis, to clear the malaria parasites from infected individuals.

Eliminating malaria from SA

Commenting on the report, Director of the National Malaria Program, Dr Devanand Moonasar said, "South Africa has been fortunate in that the government has fully funded our national malaria control policy. We have also been fortunate in securing partnerships with key stakeholders such as Roll Back Malaria, who ensure that results that we have achieved are widely disseminated through publications such as the Progress and Impact Series."

In 2007, the former Minister of Health, the late Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang set a goal of eliminating malaria from South Africa. Thanks to its progress against the disease and the country’s collaboration with its SADC partners, South Africa is now well positioned to achieve its goal of malaria elimination by 2018.


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