Big boost for war against malaria

Published on Friday, 03 July 2015 03:45

Written by ROSE ATHUMANI

Big boost for war against malaria

A BIOLARVICIDES plant, the first of its kind in Africa, was launched here amid hopes that the country was on the right track towards winning the war against the deadly malaria.

President Jakaya Kikwete and visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn inaugurated the plant that will produce environmental friendly biolarvicides to destroy mosquito larvae in the breading area, without any negative effect on humans and animals.

President Kikwete reiterated the country’s zero- tolerance against malaria, saying he will leave office in October a happiest man, having been assured that Tanzanians are safe as far as malaria was concerned.

He said his government had started fighting malaria through use of a three-pronged approach, including use of Artemesin combination therapy since other drugs in use had become resistant; promoting use of treated mosquito nets and indoor residue spraying.

“Using the combination therapy we managed to reduce malaria infection rates from 18 per cent in 2007 to 10 per cent in 2012. We also have reduced deaths resulting from malaria by 71 per cent,” he explained.

He added that more than 26 million people are now using treated mosquito nets including pregnant mothers and children under-five years. He noted that there has been a tremendous increase of use of treated mosquito nets from 23 per cent in 2004 to 92 per cent in 2012.

He explained that the biolarvicides project, which is under the management of the National Development Corporation (NDC), is a product of his official visit to Cuba in 2009, where he visited LABIOFAM Industries, which use similar technology to destroy mosquito breeding places and putting malaria in check.

“This plant is a strategic investment in the fight against malaria in the country and the continent in general. We are declaring war against malaria and we are confident we will eradicate malaria,” he explained.

He urged NDC to run the plant efficiently, diligently and commercially, stressing that he does not expect that plant to incur losses because there is a vast market for the product within and outside the country.

On his part, Mr Dessalegn said that as the current chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), he will campaign for Africa to use products from the plant to fight malaria in the continent. “I believe the plant is a very important milestone in the fight against malaria in the African continent.

This will help us eradicate malaria once and for all in the continent,” he explained. The Cuban Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Jorge Luis Lopez, said the inauguration of the plant is a symbol of the long-standing friendship between the two countries and a flagship for Tanzania in the fight against malaria.

The Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Abdallah Kigoda, said it was a historical day as President Kikwete has inaugurated the plant before he leaves office.

He assured the public that before he leaves office, the president will also launch two other projects – an iron and a coal plant at Mchuchuma and Liganga respectively.

The NDC Board Chairman, Dr Chrisant Mzindakaya, said the plant has the capacity to produce 6 million litres of biolarvicides per annum.

He added that it will also be used to manufacture different types of fertiliser for use within the country and for export.

The plant has been constructed through a 61.5 billion/- loan from the government to NDC, with Cuba providing technical and other expertise. The plant has 145 employees.