Remarks by Mohamed Saleh Jiddawi, M.D., Zanzibar Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

Dec 14, 2006 |
The White House Summit on Malaria
Washington, D.C.
December 14, 2006

Good morning Mrs. Bush. Mrs. Bush, distinguished guests, as Tim said I come from Zanzibar, a small island nation with a rich history from the days of being an East African trading post known as the Spice Islands to the launching of the exploration of Africa, led by Livingstone, Stanley and Burton, to it’s uniting with Tanganyika to form the United Republic of Tanzania.

The greatest [inaudible] of Zanzibar and its one million people has always been malaria. But now, with the assistance of the President’s Malaria Initiative, we are on the verge of conquering malaria. I’am here today, ladies and gentlemen, to express my government’s and my people’s gratitude to the American President and the American people for this historic accomplishment. Until recently, malaria accounted for 50-percent of all children’s deaths in Zanzibar as well as being a burden on the health system, being responsible for half of all outpatient attendances. Think what it would mean to the people of my country to eliminate all these deaths and sufferings, and what it would mean to our economy, based on tourism and agriculture, to not have this strain on our productivity and reputation. Zanzibar is implementing its malaria control activities in line with the global goals and objectives of the President’s Malaria Initiative. Since 2003, with support from the Global Fund and the Roll Back Malaria Initiative primarily funded by the American government, the Zanzibar Malaria Control Program has been treating malaria with ACTs. We are also using rapid diagnostic tests in clinics without laboratories, and providing intermittent preventive therapy to all pregnant women. Malaria rates started to decline.

Distinguished guests, with the launching of the PMI in December in Zanzibar last December, we were more able to attack this killer. We started by providing 233,000 long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets to all under fives and pregnant women in Zanzibar. This was done in conjunction with the Global Fund in a great campaign in December and January when teams went house to house with nails, strings and information to ensure that all bed nets were appropriately hung and used. The results are amazing. Confirmed malaria cases in Pemba, an island compromising one-third of the population of Zanzibar, had been reduced by 87-percent in 2006 compared to 2005. [APPLAUSE]

Pediatric wards which used to have two or three children per bed with malaria are now nearly empty. Again, using PMI funds, we sprayed 203,754 residences, or 96-percent of all houses in Zanzibar, between July and September this year with long-lasting insecticides. We will repeat the indoor residual spraying in January 2007, thus giving the mosquitoes no chance.

Zanzibar, ladies and gentlemen, is proud to serve as a great example that the PMI strategy works even in a resource-poor African nation. What we need now is to set up sustainable mosquito control activities, monitoring and rapid response teams so as not to allow malaria to resurge as it happened in the ‘60s and the‘80s.

Finally, I would like to say we greatly appreciate the PMI technical and financial assistance in this and the American vision and leadership in continuing the President’s Malaria Initiative until the whole world is malaria free. Thank you very much for your attention and you are very much welcome to visit our soon to be malaria free Spice Islands. [APPLAUSE]

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