End Malaria for GoodApr 26, 2016
“With renewed focus and commitment, we can be the generation to make this old disease history.” Said Mr. Murali, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative on the occasion of World Malaria Day (WMD) 2016.
Sustainable Development Goal number three is focused on “Good Health and Wellbeing” for all. In line with this international development aspiration and building on the achievements made under the Millennium Development Goals, this year’s WMD marks a historic juncture for the global community and for us here in Iran - to end the epidemic forever.” Said Mr. Murali.The theme of World Malaria Day 2016 is “End Malaria for Good” and this is what we - in the Islamic Republic Iran are trying to achieve.
On 25th April, the University of Medical Sciences in Hamedan held an event to commemorate WMD2016. Present at the event were; government officials, academia, media, representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNDP.
Mr. Murali continued his speech by highlighting the most important challenge we face in order to eliminate this disease and said: “Based on the latest assessments, the biggest challenge facing us in Iran is the risk of re-introduction of Malaria transmission in cleared-up foci due to population movements through the borders with neighboring endemic countries.”
He then continued by stating that: “As reported by the Centre for Disease Control in 2015, 14% of the target foci and 26% of the target population are affected by such population movements. In 2015, three Malaria related incidents happened: first, an outbreak of the infection in Konarak District of Sistan & Baloochestan; second, the re-introduction of Malaria transmission in Kazeroon District in Fars; and third, a Malaria re-introduction incidence in Jiroft in Kerman province. It should be noted that these are likely outcome of the migrating workers from neighboring countries flowing into Iran in search of better opportunities and livelihood. Overall, 75.5% of the malaria cases were imported from abroad in 2015, mostly originating from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two malaria endemic countries sharing about 1900 km borders with Iran.”
Dr. Sayyari, Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Raeisi, National Programme Manager for Malaria Control and Mr.Elahi Tabar , Deputy Governor General of Hamedan, were among the speakers at the ceremony. Dr. Mousavi Bahar, President of Hamedan University of Medical Sciences, read the message of His Excellency, Dr. Hashemi, Minister of Health and Medical Education at the beginning of the meeting, welcoming all.
In his message, Dr. Hashemi thanked the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative and WHO in helping Iran on its path to malaria elimination. The Minister also addressed the challenges of reintroduction of malaria to Iran by cross-border migration. Touching on this year’s theme for WMD, he indicated that he hopes that malaria in Iran becomes history in the near future.
Deputy Minister of Health who also spoke at the ceremony said: “A world without malaria is a dream of 7 billion people and it’s our responsibly to do our best to achieve this dream.” He also added: “We have come a long way so far but we need to reinforce our strengths and identify our weaknesses.” Before presenting awards to participants at the morning’s ceremony, Dr. Raeisi, National Programme Manager for Malaria Control, commended the support of UNDP and WHO which despite the constraints of sanctions, contributed significantly to the success of Iran’s malaria programme by providing equipment and technical knowledge.
“With the support of the United Nations and our own investment, eliminating malaria will be a dream come true.” Dr. Raeisi concluded.