Health Ministry Reviews Malaria Control Program

By Victor  C. Hanson, Jr.;     The Ministry Of Health & Social Welfare (MOH&SW) over the weekend reviewed its National Malaria Control Program which is a periodic joint program management process for identifying and documenting process and weaknesses and refining or redefining the strategic direction and focus.

The document that was signed at the Solemnization Making the Official Singing of the Aide Memoire of the National Malaria Control Program Review held in room 227, MOH&SW, Joseph N. Nagbe Building on March 7, 2014 on behalf of the Government of Liberia (GOL) and its partners, the World Health Organization (WHO), and United States Agency For International Development (USAID).

The Aide Memoire is a re-statement of the joint commitment of the MOH&SW, and partners, to work together in following up the recommendation of the Malaria Program Review (MPR) and support implementation towards the long term goal of achieving pre-elimination of malaria in Liberian.

The document also states that since 2013, Liberia has been undertaking a very ambitious national malaria control and prevention program, and there has been two National Malaria Strategic plans (2003-2005; 2005-2010) and is also implementing the third strategic plan that will run, has been ongoing from 2010 and will end in 2015 with a vision of having a healthier service.

The document notes, that the objective of the MPR is to assess performance of the country’s national malaria control program in order to identify achievements in outcomes, impacts, best practices, lessons learnt, critical issues and problems, and their causes.

The document further said the entire population of nearly 4 million is at risk of malaria, and with an increased risk for pregnant women and children under five, and the malaria epidemiology in the country is determined from a review of data from the routine HMIS, health facility surveys, and the Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS), and operational research.

The document stressed, that the data reviewed indicate a decline in parasite prevalence and malaria trends. From the 2005 MIS, malaria prevalence was 66%, then in 2009, it decreased to 32% and in 2011, the malaria prevalence further decreased to 28%. However, limited data was available on vector densities and other entomological information in areas where ITHs and IRS were scaled up.

The document pointed out, that since 2005, countries have made considerable progress in the diagnosis and treatment of malaria, and the percentage of patients receiving appropriate malaria treatment within 24 hours increased from 21% in 2005 to 35% in 2009 (HFS), and the proportion of children under five receiving prompt and effective treatment of malaria within 24 hours of the onset of fever increased from 5.26% in 2005 (MIS) to 17% in 2009 (MIS) and to 48% in 2011(MIS).

The document states, that the MOH&SW has developed the framework for community involvement in health and the NMCP has strong collaboration with partners for the promotion of IEC/I3CC and community involvement in health, and strategic documents, Community Health Development Committees (CHDC), and community based health program have been developed and are contributing to raising awareness on Malaria at community level. Indicators and targets for the IEC/BCC intervention are captured in the NMCP Strategic Plan 2010-2015.