Chinese team hunts down malaria in Comoros

Updated: Apr 25, 2018 Xinhua Print
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The new project, likely to be launched later this year, will build on the popularity of the previous MDA efforts, whose success in containing malaria spread have excited Comoros residents.

"In Anjouan and Moheli there is no malaria now ... There are still a few cases in Grande Comore but it has dropped a lot," said Layar Idoine, citing her experience as a doctor having worked on Grande Comore and Anjouan.

Also gone with the constant breakouts are the prevalent fears of contracting malaria and the financial burden imposed by the treatment costs on this nation, regarded as among the poorest in the world.

"(In the past) Malaria was in the minds of people. When a person is sick, everyone thought it was malaria ... Whenever someone got fever, they went out to buy nivaquine (an anti-malaria drug) and paracetamol," said Idoine.

Affane Barcar, chief of Comoros' national anti-malaria program, said that the previous project's success further motivated the Comoros people to eliminate malaria.

"Malaria caused the economy to fail. The country's productivity used to be at half mast, and the success rate of children in schools was low because of the absenteeism," he told Xinhua.

"Now we see the difference from the years past. We see an increase in success of our students, and attendance in health facilities has decreased by 40 percent."

In a 2016 report, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed Comoros as among the six African nations on course to eliminate malaria by 2020. In January this year, Comoros also won the award of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) at an AU meeting in recognition for its efforts to tame malaria.

Africa is committed to eliminating malaria by 2030, as articulated in the continent's development agenda 2063.

The disease remains Africa's major healthcare challenge, and is estimated to rob the continent of 12 billion U.S. dollars per year in lost productivity, investment and healthcare costs, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU Commission, said in January.

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