By Amin Kef Sesay
On Monday, the 25th April 2022 was observed as World Malaria Day. It must be noted that during the past year, the United States and Sierra Leone together advanced the fight against malaria, despite immense challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Committed and courageous frontline health workers, especially nurses, midwives, and community health workers, across Sierra Leone went the extra mile to ensure essential malaria services were sustained. Their efforts saved lives and supported community resilience.
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has partnered with Sierra Leone to fight malaria since 2017, contributing $76 million to date. The decline in malaria prevalence in children from 40% in 2016 to just 22% in 2021, showcases how the strong partnership between the United States and Sierra Leone enabled robust and effective malaria services to continue, even as COVID-19 caused enormous strain on the health system.
Through PMI funding and programs, 3.8 million insecticide-treated nets, 4.2 million tests, and 3.3 million fast-acting medicines were delivered to clinics and communities across Sierra Leone. In 2021 alone, over 670,000 people were protected from malaria through indoor residual spraying, and more than 2,300 health workers received training that amplified their ability to detect and treat malaria, while strengthening the health system overall and providing key skills to fight COVID-19 and future pandemics.
Assisted by PMI investments, Sierra Leone is progressing its fight against malaria using proven and cost-effective methods that save lives and promise a more healthy and prosperous future for families and communities.
In her 2022 World Malaria Day statement, Acting U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator Julie Wallace says, “With perseverance and strong global commitment we can end malaria in our lifetime. The United States is proud of our work with Sierra Leone in combating this deadly, yet entirely preventable, disease.”
About PMI: The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) supports 24 partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa and 3 programs across the Greater Mekong Subregion in Southeast Asia to control and eliminate malaria. Led by theU.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented together with theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PMI delivers cost-effective, lifesaving malaria interventions—such as insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying, and essential medicines—and invests in health workers and health systems to accelerate the global fight against this deadly infectious disease. Thanks to the generosity of the American people, PMI benefits more than 700 million people at risk of malaria worldwide each year.