Eswatini Daily News

By Bahle Gama

The End Malaria Fund (EMF) has donated E370 000 worth of malaria tablets to the Ministry of Health to mitigate the ongoing stock-out in the country.

The drug called mefloquine is a preventative drug taken two weeks before travel or in emergencies, a week before travelling to a malaria-endemic country and EMF donated 150 boxes. The handover took place at the Central Medication Stores (CMS).

The EMF received a request to procure malaria prophylaxis and has since engaged in an advocacy drive for resource mobilization and awareness of the malaria peak season.

The Ministry of Health is reported to have been procuring mefloquine but in the past 18 months, it has been very difficult to source it from the manufacturers due to supply chain demand.

According to the ministry, January is known to be a month when the country sees a lot of imported cases of people who had travelled during the festive season. The country has reportedly seen 57 cases, 20 of which are said to have been imported since the beginning of January.

Minister Lizzie Nkosi said in the previous year, the country experienced hundreds of cases during January due to importation, but due to strong collaboration with neighbouring countries through the Mosaswa border initiative, “we are seeing a steady promising decrease, and thus the need to also put our house in order.”

She further stated that as the country is bordered by other countries importation will always be a threat to elimination.
“The country has experienced malaria cases in areas where there were no cases in the past three seasons/years but with an introduction of imported cases, we saw an increase in cases with no history of travel, and that clearly shows the threat importation has on elimination,” she said.

Nkosi disclosed that the drug will be delivered to all health facilities both private and public. The drugs will be distributed through the CMS transportation system. The program will also assist during the site visits. 

“Health facilities are encouraged to make emergency orders,” she emphasized.

EMF Chairperson Thandile Nxumalo said in this New Year nothing has changed besides the fact that they need to accelerate their efforts towards malaria elimination especially “as we draw closer to the World Health Organization’s revised and set date of malaria elimination by 2025.”

She stated that the engagement of various partners locally and internationally is pivotal as they gear up to eliminate malaria.

“Indeed, we have a big task in our hands in raising the necessary resources. Having raised e12 million in cash and in-kind out of an anticipated E75 million, we implore the generosity in contributing to the fund,” she added.

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