Authorities in The Gambia and Senegal Sunday converged at the border village of Kerr Ayib, near Farafenni to jointly launched synchronized mass distribution of bed nets as part of efforts to eradicate malaria in the two countries.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of deaths in both The Gambia and Senegal. According to officials, access to Insecticide Treated Nets in Senegal has increased from 10% in 2005 to 65% in 2017, while The Gambia also attained an increase from 51% in 2010 to 79% in 2017. Official figures show that 78% of Senegalese households have access to treated bed nets, while in The Gambia, 79% have access to the same nets.
“Today we are here to officially launch the synchronized long lasting impregnated mosquito net campaign by Senegal and Gambia. Over the next three months we are expecting to distribute eleven million bed nets across the two countries as a first of its kind in the sub-region,” said Mohamadou Lamin Samateh, the Gambia’s new Minister of Health.
The Gambia and Senegal have signed a joint convention to foster collaboration towards the elimination of malaria across both countries. The project called ‘the Sene-Gambia Malaria Initiative’ is meant to harmonize malaria intervention and collaborative analysis of epidemiology, and promote scaling of best practices particularly across the vast border communities.
“The launching of the 2019 mass distribution of long-lasting impregnated nets demonstrates the level of commitment to the Sene-Gambia malaria initiative by the two countries. As we launch this initiative, let us remember that malaria vectors and parasites know no borders and therefore it is only through joint and collaborative efforts that we can eliminate malaria from our two countries,” Samateh said.
Samateh told the gathering that investing in malaria is about saving lives and reaping far-reaching benefits for the two countries.
“Continued investment in malaria control now will propel malaria-endemic countries towards near-zero death by 2030 and achieving the sustainable development goals especially those related to improving child survival and maternal health.
Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, the Senegalese Health Minister urged the nationals of the two countries to commit to ending malaria in The Gambia and Senegal.
The joint initiative is being bankrolled by different groups including Global Funds, Catholic Relief Services, USAID, Ecobank and Guaranty Trust Bank.