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World Malaria Day: Over 75pc of Afghan population lives in malaria-endemic areas: MoPH

By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Saturday said that malaria is a major health problem in the country as more than 75 percent of the population is living in malaria-endemic areas.

“Malaria disease is still a main threat to the health of citizens and affects large number of the population every year,” the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Ahmad Jan Naeem, told a ceremony, marking the World Malaria Day. He said the ministry’s efforts resulted in overcoming the outbreak of malaria up to eight percent last year. “At least 295,050 cases of malaria were registered in all over the country in 2014, which indicted eight percent decline in compare with 2013,” he added.

This year’s theme was selected ‘Invest in the Future, Defeat Malaria’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) which emphasized on needs to further invest for controlling and elimination of malaria.

According to WHO Findings, half of the world population is currently at risk of malaria. Afghanistan is one of these counties which seriously suffer from malaria breakout.

About measures to fight against malaria and leishmaniasis, Naeem said diagnosis of the decease and anti-malaria treatment is the top priority of the ministry. He added the National Malaria and Leishmaniasis Control Program (NMLCP) has implemented the required measures to overcome malaria cases in the country. (The NMLCP distributed around 4,325,552 medicated mosquito nets in 131 malaria-endemic districts. Professional training was also provided for health workers,” he said.

The WHO representative, Richard Pipar Corn, said malaria mortality rate has globally reduced by 50 percent in past decade. “Lives of four million people were saved as a result of malaria control and prevention campaigns,” he added. “Malaria cases have reduced by one-third around the global between 2000 and 2013 which shows that the world is on the right track to achieve the malaria- related MDG target,” he said.

He stressed that Afghanistan is still among the top six countries for witnessing high cases of malaria as one in five Afghans are living in areas which are at high risk of malaria and more than 75 percent of the population are living in malaria-endemic regions.

He said the WHO is strongly committed to support the NMLCP, technically and operationally, in a bid to wipe out this parasite and make a malaria-free Afghanistan.

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