Malaria has long been a neglected disease, but today on the fifth annual World Malaria Day we highlight the incredible gains made in the sustained approach towards near zero malaria related deaths and the achievements towards Millennium Development Goal 6 in the fight against communicable diseases.
As Papua New Guinea continues to make significant progress in fighting the burden of this life-threatening disease, World Malaria Day points towards the remarkable success achieved in the Pacific nation over the past five years. Since 2007, Papua New Guinea has seen over 5.5 million insecticide treated bed nets distributed and a reduction in the incidence of malarial infections within the community from 13% in 2009 to 6.5% in 2011 (Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research). Significant inroads towards these achievements have been made possible through the efforts of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and through organisations such as Rotarians Against Malaria, the Oil Search Health Foundation and Population Services International that partnered with the Papua New Guinea National Department of Health to implement the National Malaria Control Program.
Addressing malaria in Papua New Guinea continues to be a significant public health challenge. Malaria is the country’s most common outpatient diagnosis, with the World Health Organisation reporting approximately 1.36 million cases per year and malarial infections as the second-highest leading reason for hospital admission. This is not surprising since 90% of the population is at risk of infection. Despite these statistics, World Malaria Day recognises Papua New Guinea’s national effort to provide effective control of malaria, and the achievements made with support of donors such as the Global Fund and AusAID in aiding national efforts to fight this major disease.
One of the projects financed by the Global Fund is a malaria awareness program in partnership with Population Services International, a global expert in helping reinforce health messaging. The radio soap opera “Lisa’s Story” is used to spread messages about malaria prevention and to remind people that free treatment is available. Using entertainment to communicate health messages saves lives.
Leave a comment
Global Health News
Pacific Friends of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is a high-level advocacy organisation which seeks to mobilise regional awareness of the serious threat posed by HIV & AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to societies and economies in the Pacific. In pursuing its goals Pacific Friends has a specific interest in highlighting the need to protect the rights of women and children in the Pacific.