Malaria control initiatives: a focus on Tanzania

Malaria is a major public health problem in Tanzania, all residents are at a risk of infection. WHO estimates that 60 000 to 80 000 malaria deaths occur annually, among all ages.

Tanzania has long been committed to the fight against this dreadful disease, especially in the semi-autonomous region of Zanzibar. Since 2006, the prevalence of malaria dropped from 25 to less than 1 percent in the archipelago thanks to malaria control projects such as those initiated by the US President Malaria Initiative (PMI). Programs initiated in Tanzania focused mainly on Diagnosis and treatment, 30% of the malaria control allocation (2000-2010), as well as the delivery of Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs), 48%.

Through collaboration with the private sector and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare created a system of producing and distributing mosquito nets to reach the whole country, whose efficiency has been recognised by its peers.

Nets showed great results in preventing malaria but International Organisations such as WHO stress the importance of implementing accurate, cheap and easy-to-use drugs as well as diagnostic tools to end malaria for good. Tanzania took action on this issue since the second objectives of the National Malaria Strategic Plan (2014-2020) is to “Prevent the occurrence of severe morbidity and mortality related to malaria infection through the promotion of universal access to appropriate early diagnosis, prompt treatment, and provision of preventing therapies and vaccines to vulnerable groups.” To achieve this goal, the government, NGOs, researchers as well as the private sector have to work closely so that Tanzania can enforce the best solutions. With its automated malaria diagnostic test, xRapid can be part of the answer.

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