There has not been no progress in the fight against malaria, the leading  killer disease in the country, and this has  largely been due to poor funding and poor management, the World Health Organisation said in a report released this week.
The ?World Malaria Report 2012? that was released on Monday says the massive campaigns that have been going on against the disease was supposed to produce tangible results, but insufficient funding threatened to wipe out even the little gains that were being  recorded.

According to the report, the budget for malaria prevention and control in Tanzania Mainland declined from more than $200 million (Sh320 billion) in 2010 to $25 million (Sh40 billion) last year.

Worse still, the government did not contribute even a single shilling in the fight against malaria programme, leaving the burden ofighting the scourge to donors, says the report.
The budget on malaria fight for 2009 was $150 million. The biggest source of funding was the Global Fund, followed by the World Bank, the USAID and the WHO.

But in a quick rejoinder, deputy minister for Health and Social Welfare Dr Seif Selemani Rashid, said the conclusions on Tanzania is lacking, for it fails to reflect the whole situation on the ground which is far better than the report portrays.
He said as far as the funding is concerned,  government contribution is determined by its priorities list and wide consultations with donors.

?When we prepare the national Budget, we consult development partners and tell them what we have and what our priorities are and from there, we agreement on how they could assist us. That is what happened in the case of the fight against Malaria,? said Dr Rashid.

But the World Malaria Report also said most of the resources in the budget went to fund human resources and technical assistance as well as management and other costs for Malaria interventions. While only about 10 per cent of the budget actually funded Malaria control and prevention interventions.
The WHO report said the results on Tanzania were, however, highly constrained by lack of, or inadequate data on many aspects.

According to available data the number of people dying of Malaria averaged 50 in every 100,000 people for the last five years from 2007 to 2011. Despite the fact that the percentage of the population protected by insecticide treated nets is between 50 and 80 per cent, 70 per cent of the population is still at high risk with regards to malaria.
Insofar as Zanzibar is concerned, 100 per cent of the population is at high risk. Also the annual blood examination rate is less that 20 per cent.

Reacting further, on the report Dr Rashid said the government has done a lot in the fight against malaria especially as far as children are concerned.
The rate of infection for the children under the age of five  has declined from 18 per cent to 15 per cent in the past three years.

Some of interventions that the government has taken, according to Dr Rashid, include distribution of mosquito nets to nearly all the households in the country as well as making sure that malaria drugs reach the needy on time and at affordable prices.

?You know, when someone is compiling a report, there are many things to consider, one of them is the availability of data and how one wants to use the data, but according to our data we have made big achievements,? said he.
According to the report, 50 countries around the world are on track to reduce their malaria case incidence rates by 75 per cent by 2015 ? in line with World Health Assembly and Roll Back Malaria targets. However, these 50 countries only represent 3 per cent, or seven million, of the malaria cases that were estimated to have occurred in 2000, the benchmark against which progress is measured. Tanzania is not one of these countries, says the report, because there was no enough data to predict the outcome.

Dr Rashid said it was not true that data was not available. 
The World Malaria Report 2012 indicates that international funding for malaria appears to have reached a plateau well below the level required to reach the health-related Millennium Development Goals and other internationally-agreed global malaria targets.

An estimated $5.1 billion is needed every year between 2011 and 2020 to achieve universal access to malaria interventions in the 99 countries with on-going malaria transmission. While many countries have increased domestic financing for malaria control, the total available global funding remained at 2.3 billion in 2011 ? less than half of what is needed.
The World Malaria Report 2012 summarises information received from 99 countries with ongoing transmission and other sources, and updates the analyses presented in the 2011 report.

Malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable vector-borne disease. In 2010, an estimated 219 million cases occurred globally, while the disease killed about 660 000 people, mostly children under five years of age.

Source : thecitizen.co.tz

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