Home Health Minister Phaahla to attend SADC Health Summit

Minister Phaahla to attend SADC Health Summit

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Following the delivery of the 2022 State of the Nation Address , the GCIS hosted a media briefing of the Social Protection, Community and Human Development Cluster led by Ministers of @HealthZA , Dr Joe Phaahla and @DBE_SA , Angie Motshekga #PostSoNA #SONA2022

Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, will this week join his Southern African Development Community (SADC) counterparts during the summit to review the progress made to address the burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

According to the statement released on Monday, the SADC Health Ministers will also share best practices and drive collective action to deliver better health for people across the region.

The 2022 hybrid summit is taking between 7 and 11 November in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“The summit will serve as a platform for Health Ministers in the region to report on the progress made about the implementation of the regional health agenda to strengthen collective malaria elimination in the region and to decrease morbidity and mortality due to malaria disease,” the department said.  

The meeting, according to the statement, takes place during an annual SADC Malaria Week, which takes place under the banner of Elimination Eight Initiative (E8), a coalition of eight countries working across national borders to eliminate malaria in southern Africa by 2030.

The SADC Malaria Week is commemorated every year in November and is dedicated to creating awareness about malaria and mobilising the communities to participate in malaria control programmes.

“This also serves as a platform and opportunity to intensify public education about the burden of other public health challenges such as HIV/AIDS, TB, obesity and COVID-19 in the region.”

According to the department, Phaahla will in his capacity as current Chairperson of the SADC Malaria Elimination, appraise the meeting on the progress of the E8, including the successful rollout of the new US$14 million global fund grant for the period of 2021 to 2024.

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Minister Phaahla to attend SADC Health Summit 3

“Malaria is one of the most severe public health challenges across the world, it is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. It is also one of the leading causes of death in many developing countries.”

Young children, pregnant women and non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are more vulnerable to the disease when they become infected.

Although malaria is preventable and curable, people who experience malaria symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, are urged to visit their nearest healthcare provider.

“These symptoms may develop 10 to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Even if you have taken chemoprophylaxis, you can still contract the disease.”

According to the 2021 World Malaria Report, almost half the world’s population live in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 87 countries and territories.

In 2020 alone, the department said malaria caused an estimated 241 million clinical episodes and 627 000 deaths.

Meanwhile, about 95% of deaths in the same period were recorded in the World Health Organisation African region.

In South Africa, the department said malaria risk is present throughout the year, but highest between September to May the following year.

In addition, it is endemic in areas such as north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal, parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.  

Some of the malaria-preventative methods include closing windows and doors during the sunset, using mosquito repellent on exposed skin, spraying the room with an aerosol insecticide or mosquito coils, wearing long-sleeved clothing and sleeping under a net. – SAnews

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