Marion Subah, Chief of Party of Last Mile Health, has disclosed that recent data from the Liberia Malaria Indicators Survey (LMIS) showed that malaria prevalence has dropped significantly in the country, from 65% in 2005 to less than 20% in 2022.
By David A. Yates
Subah informed the gathering that the progress has been attributed to the use of the malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (mRDT) to determine malaria prevalence, whose results showed 45% prevalence, a sustained prevalence rate recorded in 2011 using the test.
Subah made the disclosures on April 25, at a program marking the celebration of World Malaria Day 2023, when she served as keynote speaker. It was held under the auspices of the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the RBM Partners in Liberia with the theme, “Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, and Implement.”
“This World Malaria Day,” she said, “I am proud to highlight the progress we have collectively made in the fight against this deadly disease.”
According to her, in 2022, the prevalence rate dropped to 17.7% for mRDT and 10.3% for microscopic NMCP.
“While we celebrate these significant gains, we also know there is more to be done. Globally, malaria elimination efforts are challenged by climate change, global pandemics, humanitarian crises, restricted funding, weak surveillance systems, and resistance to core tools to fight malaria,” Subah added.
She further maintained that to make continued progress against malaria, the government needs to invest, innovate, and implement programs geared towards the fight against the disease.
However, Subah said, the President’s Malaria Initiative has invested US$755 million globally to fight malaria in 2021 (PMI 16 annual report to Congress, 2022).
She said while funding for malaria has increased, there is still a significant funding gap, estimated by the World Malaria Report to be US$3.8 billion in 2021.
Subah explained that the need to invest more in the fight against malaria cannot be overemphasized.
Earlier in his remarks, Dr. Trokon Washington, Program Manager at the National Malaria Control Program of the Ministry of Health, hailed development partners, including the President’s Malaria Initiative, for the partnership.
Washington told the gathering that Liberia is well on course in the fight against malaria, with a goal of malaria elimination by 2030. This achievement, he said, would not have been possible without the support of their partners and the Government of Liberia.
Also speaking, Jim Wright, USAID Mission Director, expressed his delight to join the government in commemoration of World Malaria Day 2023 in Liberia. He strongly encourages all members of society and the Liberian population to take responsibility for the fight against malaria.
Wright added that malaria is preventable, and as such, no one in Liberia should die from a mosquito bite.
For his party, Dr. Moses Jeuronlon, who spoke on behalf of the WHO Country Representative, Dr. Peter Clement, congratulated the government through its malaria control program at the Ministry of Health for the progress announced during this year’s celebration.
He said the progress is coming at an appropriate time because the result of a survey has been referred to, which indicates that they have made significant progress in the malaria fight.
Dr. Jeuronlon vowed that the WHO will continue to support the Ministry of Health in collaborating with partners like the US President Malaria Initiative and other partners to tackle malaria.
Meanwhile, World Malaria Day, marked each year on April 25, brings together the global malaria community to highlight global efforts to end malaria, the need for sustained political commitment and continued investment for malaria control and elimination, as well as a moment to recommit to the targets and ultimate goal of malaria elimination by 2030.