Good afternoon distinguished delegates!
In Zambia our long term development aspirations are guided by our vision 2030 in which we aspire to become a middle income, prosperous country by then. To attain this, we have pitched health as a key economic investment to produce a healthy citizenly from where we can get a healthy workforce to drive our socioeconomic agenda.
We cannot speak about a healthy nation without talking about our health profile. We have public health challenges that have continued to claim lives, that have continued to reduce productivity and that have continued to deprive government of the resources that are required in other sectors. Malaria is one such public health challenge.
In our quest to produce healthy nation, we are investing in health systems that will deliver universal health coverage using the integrated community based primary health care approach. Now malaria elimination is part of our universal health coverage agenda. Malaria elimination will only be attained if we provide intervening across the continuum of care. We need to craft messages that will empower people under the health promotion pillar. To ensure that they conduct themselves and take responsible decisions to prevent contact with the vector. We need to invest in high impact diseases preventive measures to prevent malaria, we need to cure and we need to rehabilitate malaria.
So, we cannot speak of universal health coverage in Zambia without speaking to the malaria elimination agenda in
We are resolute that our people will only e wealthy if they are healthy and we are determined as a government to invest in the health of our people as a key economic investment.
Our National Health Strategic Plan 2017 to 2021 while it is focusing on universal health coverage has legacy goals that we have identified and top among them is malaria elimination. How do we hope to eliminate malaria? There is evidence that exist in various parts of the world and some parts of the country. That malaria is possible to eliminate.
We need to observe certain broad principles that we are observing in Zambia.
We recognise that Malaria will only be eliminated with community involvement. We need community participation, we need to harness the community in malaria elimination agenda.
We need to recognise the need for increased domestic funding for the malaria elimination agenda.
We need to ensure that as we talk about integrated vector control measures these must be carried out to scale.
We need to build a coalition with partners that promote the common aspiration of our people and we need to emphasise the need for cross boarder collaboration.
These broad principles define our malaria elimination agenda.
Talking of integrated vector control, we have decided to conduct IRS, 100% in all parts of the country, in the past we use to have partial spraying in certain parts of the country. In the malaria elimination agenda, we are targeting 100% structures and we are targeting the use of highly efficacious chemicals such as DDT.
We are distributing long lasting mosquito nets and we are targeting every bed space in the households. Between last year and this year alone, we have distributed 10 million mosquito nets.
We have invested in community based interventions. We have introduced community based surveillance, community based case management and we are using community health workers to carry out this work at community level.
We are strengthening at facility level case management and as we pick up those we are tracking to the community, we have also escalated our intermediate presumptive treatment program increasing the number of times we give fancida to our pregnant women to six time.
Further as part of our vector control measures, apart from use of long lasting ITNs and IRS, we are also embarking on Laval source control. I must emphasise that in places like southern province in Zambia, were we have carried out these interventions to scale and added mass drug administration, we have seen evidence of malaria elimination.
So by carrying out these interventions countrywide, we are confident that the malaria elimination agenda is something we can achieve. Zambia is coming from a malaria control program, with the evidence that has been adduced for elimination, we shifted the agenda to elimination. The political will has been exhibited, the president of the country himself launched the malaria elimination agenda and clearly outlined the interventions we are putting in there.
We increased domestic financing by 300%, we were spending about $8 million in 2015 and that increased to $25 million in 2017. So increased domestic financing is one thing we have done.
We have also decided to expand the establishment of the malaria elimination program. At the centre introducing more officials for targeted programs and also at district level we were we are implementing, we have introduced a position of a malaria elimination officer and these activities at district level are founded. Budgets have been shifted more from central level to implementation level at district.
It is important to mention that partnerships with stakeholders playing a key role,
In us building this coalition for malaria elimination
The global fund, US government, the Roberk Malaria, Chinese Government, Melinda Gates have worked with us strongly in pushing the malaria elimination agenda.
But what is key is political will, increased domestic financing, community involvement and ensuring that all interventions are put in place there are carried out to scale.
There is enough evidence that malaria elimination is possible. All we need to do is to agree that a lot of people have died from malaria, and we must now build a strong coalition, leverage resources, and make sure we carry out to scale all interventions and give ourselves ambitious targets to ensure that we eliminate malaria.
As I conclude, I must state that the universal health coverage agenda will only be attained in countries where malaria is a big burden with the malaria elimination agenda.
And it is important to note that eliminating malaria will improve productivity. There will be less time lost in man hours through absenteeism, less funerals, in other ways, productivity will be improved. And if you improve productivity, then you are speaking to the national development program.
Let’s work together, pull resources and fight malaria.