Malawi could save K19 bn if it achieves zero malaria cases & deaths- Chakwera

President Lazarus Chakwera launches malaria campaign in Machinga

At least K19 billion could be saved if the country achieves zero malaria cases and deaths every year.

President Lazarus Chakwera made the disclosure when he officially launched the 'Zero Malaria starts with me' campaign in Liwonde on Tuesday.

According to the President, K19 billion is invested annually towards the Malaria fight where one in every three people get infected each year, companies lose their workers and schools lose students to the disease.

A global and local public health threat, it also contributes to 36 percent of out patients department (OPD) and 15 percent of hospital admissions in the southern African nation.

The President said although he was happy to be part of the historic initiative, the real test lies in attaining the goal of building a new Malawi with zero Malaria cases.

Chakwera captured on arrival at the venue. Pics courtesy of World Vision Malawi

He noted pregnant women and children remain vulnerable to contracting the disease therefore called for concerted efforts and investments in the fight.

Targets of achieving a Malawi free of malaria by 2030 have been set and the President stated the commitment is an indication of refusal to determine a bleak future for the nation in the malaria fight.

With already existing strategies like Insecticide Residual Spraying (IRS) and use of treated mosquito nets, Chakwera said the country is on track to achieving the goal.

He cited the many benefits to be realized from this target such as a Malawi with no funerals, no hospital bills and the country's 6 million productive citizens attaining their full potential.

A  World Vision Malawi pavilion showcasing some of its projects in the country.

Among the 10 Commandments in creating a zero malaria zone according to the President are sleeping under nets, clearing of bushes, avoid keeping stagnant water near homes, visiting a healthcare facility every time one develops symptoms and taking medication as prescribed by doctors.

Machinga was chosen for the campaign launch as it has registered a lot of progress evidenced and modeled by Group Village Headman Mwikala area which in one year recorded no Malaria death, a feat Chakwera stressed must be emulated by others.

He also called for a mindset change on misconceptions and attitudes around malaria such as mosquito nets bringing bedbugs arguing that the insecticide used in the nets also kills bedbugs not that they came with the net.

With over 9 million nets targeted to be distributed in 25 districts to control the disease, he touted them as a key weapon in the fight despite the fact only 55 percent of the population sleep under nets.