Tanzania in five-year plan to eradicate malaria scourge

Thursday November 10 2022
malaria scourge Tanzania

Tanzania is now banking on support from the USA to end the malaria scourge — one of the world’s biggest killer diseases — by 2027. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


Tanzania is now banking on support from the USA to end the scourge of malaria — one of the world’s biggest killer diseases — by 2027.

The new five-year anti-malaria programme to combat malaria infections, both in Tanzania mainland and in Zanzibar, targets destruction of breeding points for mosquitoes, the vectors that help malaria parasites to spread.

It also targets strengthening of healthcare systems, including readiness to deal with emergency cases.

The programme is based on seed funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In Zanzibar, a $27 million boost will target the Tanzania Malaria Case Management (TMCM) programme, which falls under the US president's plan to combat malaria.

This newly launched malaria control project would also help Zanzibar to reduce its overall malaria prevalence by 2027, then achieve a total zero-malaria as part of the island’s initiatives to improve the welfare of its people. This is then expected to contribute to improved tourism business through a healthy environment.


Make Zanzibar malaria-free

“The 2022-2027 TMCM project will accelerate our struggle to make Zanzibar a malaria-free area, with great hope to extend to the mainland," Zanzibar's Health Minister Nassor Ahmed Mazrui said.

“Health safety is a major tourist consideration when tourists consider taking a safari in Africa. Malaria prevalence is one of the major tropical diseases that tourists are conscious about and in many cases, a deterring factor,” Mazrui noted.

Over 45 million people in Tanzania are at risk of malaria because of the climate and topography. The US government funding helped reduce malaria prevalence from 18 per cent in 2015 to 7 per cent in 2022, the latest available data from USAID indicates.

Since 2006, the US government has contributed more than $661 million (Tsh1.5 trillion) to combat malaria in Tanzania, USAID said in its latest report.

Tanzania is currently implementing a five-year malaria surveillance activity (TMSA) between August 2022 to August 2027 through the Ifakara Health Institute, which aims at reducing the malaria burden and moving towards elimination of the disease.

Skilled health workers

MNSP also targets to improve availability of skilled health providers and high-quality testing services to control the spread of malaria in Tanzania.

Tanzanian Minister for Health Ummy Mwalimu said the government, in collaboration with major donors in the health sector, has been running preventive campaigns against malaria.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had placed Tanzania among 17 countries with high rates of infections globally.

Data from the Ministry of Health indicate that malaria cases have dropped from 7.7 million patients in 2015 to 4.4 million patients in 2021.

Deaths from malaria have reduced from 6,311 in 2015 to 1,905 in 2021, data from the Ministry of Health shows.