Mr. Komba Djeko, representing DRC Health Minister Victor Kaput, said that “malaria is an epidemic which is at the centre of the degradation of the health of our communities, and the degradation of our country’s economic situation.”
Malaria is the main cause of death in the DRC for children under the age of five, and is also responsible for a considerable number of deaths of older children and adults. The most vulnerable to malaria are infants, children, pregnant women, displaced people and those living with HIV/ AIDs.
In response to malaria’s negative effects, the DRC government has donated insecticide impregnated mosquito nets since 2006, in Bas Congo and South Kivu. Further campaigns will continue in Equateur and Kinshasa later this year.
The 2011 government objective is to reach accessibility to malaria treatment for all, and minimum insecticide impregnated mosquito nets population coverage of 80%.
“World Malaria Day which we celebrate today should not be a day of anxiety and fear. On the contrary, it should be a day of determination and hope,” Mr. Djeko concluded.
The main challenges in the fight against malaria in the DRC are numerous. They include better access for the population to treatment, the reinforcement of the follow up and evaluation systems, a better coordination between the different partners, and better sensibilisation on the dangers of malaria.
As part of their DRC anti malaria programme, UNICEF have a policy of donating insecticide impregnated mosquito nets to all children under the age of five, as well as funding medical training and sensibilisation campaigns.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is one of the major partners in the fight against malaria in the DRC, allocating $54 million in funding over the next five years.
Their five main areas of intervention are insecticide impregnated mosquito nets, medical training, improving treatment for patients, better management of the fight against malaria and support for pregnant women.
Other important partners in the fight include the World Health Organization, the World Bank, USAID, Population Services International and the National Programme in the Fight Against Malaria.