Zambia-Zimbabwe Launch Cross Border Malaria Initiative
Zambia and Zimbabwe have launched a Zambia-Zimbabwe cross border Malaria initiative to harmonize and coordinate the fight against Malaria in the two neighboring countries.
The Initiative was launched by the Zambian Minister of Health, Dr Joseph Kasonde and Zimbabwean Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Douglas Mombeshora at a joint Press Conference held at Zambezi River Lodge in the Zimbabwe Border town of Victoria Falls on 24th April 2013.
Speaking during the Press Conference, Dr Kasonde said the Zambia-Zimbabwe Initiative is aimed at improving coordination of Malaria control activities in boarder districts as the two countries move towards malaria elimination.
The Minister said the Launch was historic and important to Zambia as it will pave way, encourage and activate other initiative such as Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi Cross Border Malaria initiative launched in Chipata in 2012.
Dr. Kasonde said it should be understood that cross-border initiatives are not stand-alone activities but are meant to complement national efforts to control and eliminate malaria by jointly mobilizing financial and technical resources for malaria elimination and control in the region.
He added that the initistive was also meant to increasing health systems capacity in the region to effectively implement, sustain, monitor and evaluate malaria control and elimination efforts at national and community levels.
The initiative should also assist in coordinating multi-sectoral efforts among all partners working on malaria and to also strengthening program ownership at district and community levels
And speaking at the same Press Conference, Dr. Mombeshora said the launch of the Zambia – Zimbabwe Cross Border Malaria Initiative would further strengthen the bond between the two countries started during the pre-independence era when our countries were a federation.
Dr. Mombeshora added that the two countries were yet again joining hands to fight a common enemy – malaria. He said the theme for the launch, “Investing in the future to defeat malaria”, called for the two countries to mobilise resources to move towards pre-elimination and eventually eliminate malaria.
The Deputy Minister further said The Zambezi River which forms a long border between Zambia and Zimbabwe is a source of livelihood for the communities living along its basin and is also a source of malaria infection as it provides a conducive environment for the malaria vectors.
He said the communities along the border have a lot in common as they share similar socio-cultural traits.
“It is a known fact these people cross this massive river through formal and informal entry points, for various reasons that include fishing, visiting friends and relatives, seeking healthcare services as well as trading. Likewise mosquitoes also cross the river/ border, yet control efforts are restricted by borders hence the need for innovative solutions to improve access of health services to these isolated communities”, Dr. Mombeshora said.