Wednesday, April 25, 2012

World Malaria Day 2012

News release from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Test, Treat, Track: scaling up the fight against malaria

 WHO hails global progress in combating malaria but highlights the need to further reinforce the fight. WHO’s new initiative, T3: Test, Treat, Track, urges malaria-endemic countries and donors to move towards universal access to diagnostic testing and antimalarial treatment, and to build robust malaria surveillance systems.

A million lives saved

“In the past ten years, increased investment in malaria prevention and control has saved more than a million lives,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “This is a tremendous achievement. But we are still far from achieving universal access to life-saving malaria interventions.”

Progress not enough to meet target

A massive acceleration in the global distribution of mosquito nets, the expansion of programmes to spray the insides of buildings with insecticides, and an increase in access to prompt antimalarial treatment has brought down malaria mortality rates by more than a quarter worldwide, and by one third in Africa since 2000. But simply maintaining current rates of progress will not be enough to meet global targets for malaria control.

T3: Test, Treat, Track

WHO therefore urges the global health community to further scale up investments in diagnostic testing, treatment, and surveillance for malaria in order to save more lives and to make a major push towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
Endemic countries should be able to ensure that every suspected malaria case is tested, that every confirmed case is treated with a quality-assured antimalarial medicine, and that the disease is tracked through timely and accurate surveillance systems.
WHO has published technical guidance for all three pillars of T3: Test, Treat, Track – releasing the final two documents of the package, Disease Surveillance for Malaria Control, and Disease Surveillance for Malaria Elimination, today.
“Until countries are able to test, treat, and report every malaria case, we will never defeat this disease,” says Dr Margaret Chan, who is in Namibia for World Malaria Day this year. "We need strong and sustained political commitment from all countries where malaria is endemic, and from the global health community, to see this fight through to the end.”
  • In half of all malaria-endemic countries in Africa, over 80% of cases are still being treated without diagnostic testing. Universal diagnostic testing will ensure that patients with fever receive the most appropriate treatment, and that antimalarial medicines are used rationally and correctly. Countries that have already scaled up diagnostic testing (such as Senegal) are saving hundreds of thousands of treatment courses every year.
  • Many countries have made significant progress in improving access to antimalarials. In 2010, 60 governments were providing artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) free of charge to all age groups. But millions of people still lack ready access to appropriate treatment. The effort must be scaled up to ensure that every confirmed malaria case gets treated.
  • Improved surveillance for malaria cases and deaths will help countries determine which areas or population groups are most affected. It will also help ministries of health to identify resurgences and map new trends - thus maximizing the efficiency of prevention and control programmes. Better surveillance will also allow for a more effective delivery of international aid programmes.
“T3: Test, Treat, Track aims to galvanize endemic countries and their partners to build on the success of malaria prevention efforts over the past decade,” says Dr Robert Newman, Director of WHO’s Global Malaria Programme. “In recent years, there has been major progress in the development of new diagnostic tools and highly effective antimalarial medicines. The challenge now is to ensure these tools get used, and that countries accurately measure their public health impact.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Here we go again - Flood in Circle after this morning's rains

So the real rains haven't even started yet, this is just a warning and Circle is already flooded. Your self-styled green enthusiast and journalist, as usual, got you some first hand pictures. I couldn't get near for obvious reasons (before they announce on Peace FM later today that the rains have carried me away), so please pardon image quality, courtesy my phone friend. Well the question: When will we ever learn? Don't forget that Accra already has a cholera outbreak: 13 people have been confirmed dead and 600 hospitalised? What measures are being put in place by the AMA pending the actual rains?

Yes, those are human beings in the water - behind Provident Towers

Video to follow soon...
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