Study proves malaria can be reduced...

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(Dar es Salaam) A pilot study conducted jointly by Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) and the National Institute for Parasitic Disease (China CDC) in southern Tanzania has revealed that malaria can be reduced by over 80 per cent if a new Chinese model is applied in curbing one of the leading tropical killer diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) country office hosted a media conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday to among other things introduce the study to the members of the press, including a delegation of Chinese journalists who visited Tanzania to learn more about the study.

The China-UK-Tanzania partnership Pilot Project on malaria control in Rufiji, Tanzania was implemented from 2015-2018 using the Chinese model scientifically known as “1-3-7” which was customized to 1-7 in the context of Tanzania.

How was it done?

Dr. Prosper Chaki (standing) gestures as he stresses a point when briefing journalists on the outcome a Rufiji malaria project he is involved in. The briefing was held the WHO country office in Dar es Salaam last week.

“The project deployed a community based test, treat and track (T3) as robust surveillance and response mechanism to reduce malaria burden in the project areas,” reports one of the scientists behind the study, Dr. Prosper Chaki of Ifakara Health Institute.

According to Dr. Chaki, the project provided the screening and antimalarial services in 18 villages of nearly 60,000 people in Muhoro and Ikwiriri within Rufiji District. In both areas, NMCP delivered LLINs as part of the national efforts.

In addition, the project conducted weekly focused screening and treatment (mRCT) which is actually reactive community testing by community health workers through mobile health teams in hot spot areas identified based on stratification using recent weekly data from the facilities (passive case detection).

What were the results?

“The project achieved in successful implementation of improved community-based surveillance and malaria case management with 80-90% parasitological examination rate, standardized treatment rate and case reporting rate,” says Dr. Chaki.

He adds that: “There is also indication of significant reduction of malaria cases at health facilities, laying the platform for policy, technology and product transformation. This calls for partnerships between governments, local and private entities at different levels to join forces against malaria.”

After the completion of the project, a team of scientists evaluated it to assess its overall impact; and its added values into the fight against malaria in Tanzania, specifically and in the context of Africa in general. #

Chinese and Tanzanian journalists who covered the media briefing on the IHI’s Rufiji malaria project pose for a group photo with scientists, WHO officials and IHI staff. PHOTO/RC

What are the key messages?
1. A Chinese model customized in the Tanzanian context has proved that malaria can be reduced by over 80 per cent in high burdened areas.

2. The evidence lays the platform for policy, technology and product transformation.

3. It also calls for strengthened partnerships between governments, local and private entities.

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