Emerging mosquito strains resistant to current treatments are intensifying the malaria threat in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, an official said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the opening of the SADC Elimination-8 (E8) High-Level Meeting in the capital of Windhoek, Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the chemicals and medicines used are losing their effectiveness in certain situations, making malaria control increasingly unsustainable.
“The cost of keeping down malaria is becoming simply unsustainable,” she said, adding that malaria is one of the old diseases that continues to exert excessive pressure on the region’s systems and kill people more than all other diseases.
Nandi-Ndaitwah underscored the need for a collective approach to combat the growing malaria threat, citing that this collaborative approach, exemplified through the E8 project, forms a critical component in the battle against malaria.
She stressed that a robust and sustained regional response to malaria not only helps build stronger health systems but also promotes equity and resilience. Such an approach, she said, is a key lever for lifting communities out of the vicious cycle of poverty, as the disease and economic hardship are intricately linked.
Ndaitwah urged SADC member states and partners to support the Cross-Border Malaria Elimination Initiative and encouraged innovative financing mechanisms to mobilize resources for malaria elimination.
She emphasized the need to maintain the momentum against malaria, calling on all stakeholders, including non-state development partners, to contribute meaningfully to this critical effort.
She warned that failing to sustain the E8 initiative would have catastrophic consequences and lead to reversals in malaria control.