Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 April 2021:
In a ceremony held at the National Stadium in Freetown, on April 23, U.S. Ambassador David Reimer joined the Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), Dr. Anthony Augustine Sandi, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Satti Kenneh, Permanent Secretary of MoHS, and other dignitaries to mark World Malaria Day and the launch of the new National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan.
“The Ministry of health and Sanitation is committed to reducing malaria infections geared towards the ultimate goal of malaria eradication in Sierra Leone,” stated Dr. Sandi.
“World Malaria Day represents a chance for all of us to make a difference. Together we can roll back malaria and generate broad gains in multiple areas of health and human development,” Sandi said.
“Today is not simply about past actions,” stated Ambassador Reimer. “Today we reaffirm our commitment to ending malaria in Sierra Leone as a partner to the National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan…
“I call on all our partners to commit today to continue our partnership to draw the line against malaria in Sierra Leone – so that together, we can achieve a future where malaria no longer burdens this great nation – saving lives and livelihoods in the process.”
The United States has committed $14.5 million to fight malaria in Sierra Leone in 2021 through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
Since 2017, PMI has partnered with Sierra Leone to fight malaria, contributing $60 million to date.
This funding has delivered more than 3 million bed nets, 2.5 million rapid tests and 2 million doses of fast-acting treatments, while strengthening health systems to reinforce and amplify Sierra Leone’s efforts to end this deadly, yet entirely preventable, disease.
In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working to build a replacement National Malaria Reference Laboratory to enhance the quality of malaria diagnostics across the country and improve early treatment capabilities.
Malaria remains a major public health challenge in Sierra Leone. Disease prevalence was 40% among children as measured in the most recent national Malaria Indicator Survey.
Malaria accounts for 47% of clinic visits of children and responsible for 38% of all hospitalized patients, killing 18% of those hospitalized. In addition, malaria is a major impediment to socio-economic development, leading to poverty.
Organizations partnering with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on the National Malaria Elimination Strategic Plan assisted at the ceremony, including Freetown Mayor’s Office and representatives of the Global Fund, World Vision, Catholic Relief Services, and the World Health Organization.