Launch of President’s Malaria Initiative-Funded Malaria Indoor Residual Spraying

Remarks by the USG Deputy Chief of Mission, Robert Scott

  • Manicaland District Medical Officer, Dr. Talent Maphosa
  • Mutare District Government Staff
  • Distinguished guests and professionals who have worked to prevent and treat malaria in Zimbabwe
  • Mutare District community members, especially residents served by Chitakatira Health Center
  • Members of the press

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here today on the eve of malaria season to launch a new chapter in our partnership to prevent malaria cases in Zimbabwe. Today we launch a new insecticide and spraying technology as part of our efforts to prevent malaria, one of the most deadly diseases in the world.  We can all agree that prevention is better than a cure – especially when it comes to a devastating and deadly disease like malaria.  The mosquito-borne disease continues to sicken and kill far too many people each year.  In 2012, there were approximately 207 million malaria cases and 627,000 deaths worldwide (WHO statistic).  In 2013, 97 countries had ongoing malaria transmission, placing 3.4 billion people at risk for the disease.

Through the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the United States partners with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Malaria Control Programme – an organization which has more than fifty years of experience in spraying mosquitos, to end deaths from this preventable and treatable disease.  I believe that together we are making tremendous, unparalleled progress.

Since 2005, the President’s Malaria Initiative in Zimbabwe has been implemented through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) with the objective of reducing the intolerable burden of malaria.  The goal of PMI is to reduce malaria-related deaths by 50 percent in 19 countries in Africa.  This will be achieved through expanding coverage of four highly effective malaria prevention and treatment measures, especially to the most vulnerable populations: pregnant women and children less than five years old.  These interventions include providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets; indoor mosquito spraying with insecticides; providing intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women, and prompt use of a combination medicine for those who have been diagnosed with malaria.  It is encouraging to note that enhanced global efforts to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives since 2000.

I am pleased to announce that the U.S. government, through USAID, will this year provide support to enable the National Malaria Program to spray more than 159,000 structures during the 2014 campaign season in Nyanga, Mutare, Mutasa, and Chimanimani Districts, protecting nearly 350,000 Zimbabweans from malaria. These activities will be implemented with the leadership of the Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Programme through USAID’s Africa Indoor Residual Spraying Project.

Last year, the National Malaria Control Program and partners studied mosquitoes in Manicaland Province and discovered that they are now able to resist the pyrethroid insecticide.  USAID’s Africa Indoor Residual Spraying project worked with the National Malaria Control Program to select another insecticide that would easily kill these mosquitoes.  This year will be the first time in Zimbabwe that the spraying teams from your communities will use the new insecticide.  Just as the mosquitoes adapt, so must we by using the new insecticides and technologies to effectively beat malaria.

In addition to the new insecticide, this year the National Malaria Control Program and our project have decided to try new spraying equipment.  We hope that the new equipment will improve efficiency, safety and effectiveness of the mosquito spraying.  We acknowledge the spray operators for their hard work during this spraying season and hope this new spraying technology lightens the load considerably.

Speaking of the spray operators, these teams of committed, highly-trained professionals are from communities right here in Manicaland.  The spray operators and supervisors are the critical ingredient in the spraying process.  Let us applaud them for completing their training and launch them on their way to a successful spraying season!

Another important project funded by the American people is the Population Services International’s (PSI) Strengthening Private Sector Services project.  PSI’s role in the malaria spraying campaign is to get the word out about when/where and how spraying is happening and why it is important.  You may have seen PSI banners, road-side signs, Kombi signs, brochures, or heard radio advertisements or experienced road show dramas that all aim to promote and educate Zimbabweans about indoor mosquito spraying.  I have been informed that PSI conducted 138 road shows and reached more than 45,500 people in preparation for the upcoming spraying program.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the United States is a major donor of malaria prevention and treatment in Zimbabwe and we work with other donors, such as the Global Fund, under the leadership of the National Malaria Control Program and other implementing partners.  Over the past four years, the United States has committed a total of $56 million to combat malaria in Zimbabwe.  We plan to commit another $14.5 million next year.  We are a long-standing, committed partner to the people of Zimbabwe.  Good health and longevity are valuable assets for the people of Zimbabwe to not only enjoy but also strengthen families, society, the economy, and the nation.

My message to you today is that the United States wants Zimbabwe to prosper and Zimbabweans to experience a healthy and long life.  I extend my gratitude to the Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Program for their leadership and partnership.

Thank you.