US president malaria initiative expands to Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 September 2017

Last Thursday, September 21, USAID Administrator Mark Green announced that the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) – a U.S. government initiative led by USAID and implemented together with CDC,  will launch new country programs in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, and Sierra Leone, and expand its existing program in Burkina Faso.

The Sierra Leone PMI program will receive US$15 million in its first year. Administrator Green made the announcement at a Roll Back Malaria event at the UN General Assembly in New York.

“No child should die from a disease that is both preventable and treatable,” said Ambassador Mark Green, USAID Administrator.

“The Administration and Congress believe in the effectiveness of the PMI program. Expanding further into west and central Africa will save lives, prevent illness and unburden health systems – allowing kids to attend school and adults to work.”

Malaria is disease caused by parasites that invade and destroy red blood cells in humans. The parasites are transmitted to persons through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes, but highly effective tools exist to battle this scourge.

With the addition of Sierra Leone and the other four new focus countries, PMI will have programs in 24 countries in sub-Saharan Africa where malaria remains a significant public health problem, as well as Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand supporting regional efforts in the Greater Mekong Region in Asia.

PMI’s country expansion will benefit almost 90 million additional people at risk of malaria in West and Central Africa, and the U.S. Government will be able to contribute to ensuring availability of effective malaria prevention and control interventions to approximately 332 million people at risk across the region.

Malaria is an important public health challenge that the Government of Sierra Leone, the U.S. Government, and partners are united in fighting.  Over 2 million outpatient visits are due to malaria every year in Sierra Leone, of which about a million patients are children under five years of age.

PMI will work together with the Government of Sierra Leone, under National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) leadership, and in collaboration with malaria stakeholders, to scale up a comprehensive, integrated package of life-saving interventions in communities.

This includes both prevention (insecticide treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying) and treatment interventions. PMI support includes mosquito surveillance, malaria case surveillance, monitoring and evaluation of impact, and behavior change communication activities.

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