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Ethiopia Prepares For Battle With Malaria
By Peter Heinlein
20 March 2009
Ethiopia is gearing up for an epic battle with malaria, possibly later this year. The stakes are high, with international aid agencies betting millions of dollars that the Horn of Africa's largest country can wipe out a disease that kills at least a million Africans every year. VOA correspondent Peter Heinlein reports on Ethiopia's unique chance of eradicating a killer disease.
The battlelines are drawn. The troops in this fight are equipped with life-saving medicines, diagnostic kits and protective gear. Health Minister Twodros Adhanon says Ethiopia is on high alert for the next attack of malaria-carrying mosquitos. "We have deployed 30,000 health extension workers over the country, civil servants, high school graduates with one year certificate training out in the village to train and empower our communities," he said.
Humad Ibrahim belongs to a nomadic tribe that roams Ethiopia's remote Afar region. Now he's also a health worker. Equipped with a cellphone, medicines and diagnostic kits, he is on the scene in the event of a malaria outbreak.
"We are not free of malaria," Ibrahim said. "But it is better than it was before."
Historically, a malaria epidemic hits Ethiopia every five to eight years. The last one, in 2003-and four, caught the country unaware. Millions contracted the disease. Nobody knows how many died.
Since then, aid agencies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to prevent the next outbreak.
In a country with a doctor shortage and a mostly rural population, Ethiopia's Health Minister, Twodros Adhanon, says bednets for all, and an army of village-level health workers are the cornerstones of the strategy to beat the disease.
"We have 10-million households in malarious areas, the target was to distribute 20-million, that's two bed nets per household. A very ambitious target," Adhanon reported.
Hospitals in the malaria zone are on alert, screening for signs of a surge in caseloads.
The US Agency for International Development believes Ethiopia has a unique opportunity to beat the disease because, unlike in most African countries, malaria is seasonal here. It hits hardest right after the rainy season, around September or October. USAID'S malaria program chief in Ethiopia Richard Reithinger says only time will tell.
"We're basically due for another big epidemic year, and the big question is, are the number of cases that-- we usually would see about 10-million cases in an epidemic year-- is that number going to be lower, or is it going to be as high as before, as in 2003-2004," Reithinger said.
Ethiopians believe they can control the next outbreak, and prove to skeptics that the huge sums being spent battling malaria can produce a decisive victory.
With another epidemic due, the battlefront is ready. Health workers are at their stations, confident of defeating one of the region's biggest killers.
The U.S.-backed Global Fund for HIV, TB and malaria is betting they can. The fund has just approved another $290-million grant to the campaign.
All of us wheather we live abroad or in Ethiopia, oppositions (not welcome who work with eplf) or supporters of the tplf goverment must work hard to irrdicate maeleria. In this way we can show our people who really we are. If we irrdicate maleira from Ethiopia it is a grate success. But dont forget to wipe the big mosqitos (eplf and its supporters) on the way. You dont need more instruments than the one you use for maleria.
Maleria and mosqitos free Ethiopia for all Ethiopians.
Come and let us outlet our frustration on Meles, let us make everything politics and politics is hate.
What is the motive of Meles on the battle with malaria? Maybe Meles don’t want the people to die peacfully by malaria because he wants to kill them with a bullet lol
it is important to watch this government in every move, after all who trust Meles lol
Do you know that when MOSQUITO lands on your arm,it has advanced nerv system that localise the exacte posion of your blood vessel.Ther are around 20 different kinds of mosquitos and it is the femal mosquio that is couses malaria.Plasmodium ,the parasite that coused malaria enters the bloodstream through a mosquito bite and lives for a week or so in liver cell.
The bets way to get ride of Malaria is DDT, but that is out of quesion becouse of BAD things that had happend to other animals and nature.The person who discover DDT got a noble prize for his discovery tills the women who discover the other side of the DDT. Every medicn has its advantage and disadvantage.By the way if it were not for Mosquitos that Serengat in Kenya and Tanzania should have been populated by now and no animal could have lived untill these days. You see that nature plays its game and balance every living things….
way to go.
It’s about time…..today malaria tomorrow other diseases… Ethiopia is going to rise once again very very soon.
Very good news really citys like Arba Minch.Semera,Awassa,Negele Borena,Moyale,Seleklaka etc are the main victems of Maleriya.
We must fight this killer BESHETA
Malaria, HIV, TB, malnutrition and diarrheal diseases are claiming the lives of thousands of Ethiopians every year. Ethiopia has a long way to go to overcome all these ailments. This national issue requires the participation of the people as well. Education and preventive measures are necessary to combat these major problems.
For this program to succeed there must be a long-term national plan and the money the government receives from foreign aid should be under the scrutiny of the donor countries.
Peace is a prerequisite so that this plan can be implemented through out the country. Ethnic conflict and the absence of security will create unfavorable situations. Pockets of malaria-infested areas may not be accessible because of the absence of security.
A nation can only achieve its main goals when there is peace, ethnic harmony, democracy and participation of the whole nation at the grass-root level.
No doubt Dr Tedyy. We count on you. Prove for skeptics you are making history.
God bless you.
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