The Tanzanian government has expressed hope that the country will be able to eradicate malaria by 2015, Aisha Kigoda, deputy minister for health and social welfare, said Tuesday following the release of a global malaria map that identifies areas at high risk of malaria, the Guardian/IPP Media reports.
Kigoda said the map will enhance Tanzania's malaria control program by providing "more knowledge about the disease and its prevalence across the country so that we can kick it out by 2015."
"The map will be of use to health workers, policy makers, researchers and other players in the war on malaria," Kigoda said, adding, "It will help them in more easily identifying the places worse hit and thus enable them to focus on them faster." In addition, health officials and donors can use the map to "know exactly where the problem lies so that appropriate support or assistance can be directed to the most disadvantaged areas."
Michel Kazatchkine -- executive director of the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria -- welcomed the release of the map, saying, "We need to increase the information available to us and to our donors to demonstrate that investing in malaria control does indeed reduce the numbers of people at risk worldwide." He added that the map can help "reassure donors by graphically showing progress and highlight where further investments are most needed."
About 37% of deaths among children younger than age five and 25% of deaths among pregnant women in Tanzania are attributed to malaria, the Guardian/IPP Media reports. The country reports between 16 million and 18 million malaria cases and about 100,000 malaria-related deaths annually, according to the country's National Malaria Control Program (Ajwang, Guardian/IPP Media, 3/26).