NEWS Story Liberia 25th April 2006 Africa Malaria Day Celebration moves Monrovia!
On April 25, 2006, The MENTOR Initiative together with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoH&SW), National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and other partners celebrated the 6th Africa Malaria Day. The Africa Malaria Day is celebrated every year to raise awareness on the importance of prompt and effective treatment and prevention against malaria. This year’s celebration highlighted the need to provide universal access to Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) and called for these treatments to reach those who need them as quickly as possible. The theme for the day was: “Get Your ACT Together! Universal Access to Effective Treatment is a Human Right”. Malaria is one of the main causes of death in Liberia, but prompt and effective treatment along with prevention measures can reduce deaths and suffering from malaria.. The MENTOR Initiative, in collaboration with NMCP and MOH&SW is focused on reducing malaria-related morbidity and mortality through the training of health workers in best practices for malaria case management and techniques. In addition community members are educated in the prevention of malaria and awareness is created on the importance of early detection and treatment.
The day commenced with a cheerful parade participated by national and international agencies led by a marching band from the MOH Compound through the principal streets of Monrovia and ended at the City Hall where an indoor program was held. Monrovians came out on the streets and started dancing together with the marchers to the beat of the marching band while children followed the parade with glee. Traffic was heavy; vehicles stopping and others slowly driving by to witness the merriment while vehicles at the end of the traffic were blowing their horns that seemed to harmonize with the beat of the band… altogether added sparks to the event. The dramas, comedy skits, acrobats and songs that highlighted messages of prevention and treatment of malaria during the in-door programme were superbly performed to the delight and merriment of the audience. Several speeches were made by dignitaries including Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Walter Gwenigale, Ministry of health, UN heads, other international agencies and NGO representatives. Some of these dignitaries made special presentations. The representative from the Chinese Embassy presented a consignment of drugs to the Minister of Health for the people of Liberia, while UNICEF presented a consignment of Insecticide Treated Nets for pregnant women and children less than five years. The programme was specially graced by the presence of the Hon. Jewel Howard Taylor, Senior senator of Bong County and Chairperson of the standing committee on health, who gave a very inspiring keynote address. She encouraged community members to join the fight against malaria by making an effort to keep their communities clean (i.e. remove stagnant water, clearing drainage ditches and overall attention to sanitation). The MENTOR Initiative is the only malaria control agency in the world today exclusively focused on ensuring effective malaria control in humanitarian emergencies. Its country team and dynamic partnerships have been highly successful in establishing best practice for malaria control in Liberia since mid 2003. Many NGO/MoH teams have been trained and equipped and now provide effective malaria case management and prevention services across approximately 60% of the country.