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Media Updates 2012

Mauritania Commits to Eliminate Malaria by 2015

Media update 06.09.2012

6 September 2012, Nouakchott, MAURITANIA— In her first country visit as Executive Director of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré met with HE Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, who outlined his country’s plan to ensure that Mauritania achieves the MDGs ahead of the 2015 timeline.

Malaria is the primary cause of mortality in Mauritania’s southern region and is cited as the most frequented health concern among people seeking medical services. Given the severity of the disease, the Government of Mauritania has committed to emphasize malaria control as part of the country’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) roadmap and recently allocated US$ 20 million to support the scale-up of MDG-related initiatives, including for malaria, MDG 6.

Referencing Morocco, which was certified as malaria-free in 2009, and progress made by some neighboring countries Minister of Health, Mr Ba Housseinou Hamadi highlighted the importance of solidarity among countries to tackle the disease and expressed his commitment to extending this zone further to the South. “Malaria needs to be eliminated in Mauritania by 2015,” said Mr Hamadi. The north of Mauritania — the Saharan zone — is considered to be in a pre-elimination phase. Also in discussion with Dr Nafo-Traoré, Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf expressed his strong personal and political commitment to strengthen the national malaria response.

Mauritania has been able to increase its domestic contribution to its malaria control programme, largely due to strong and steady economic growth of more than 5% per year.  Currently an estimated 64% of the population at risk of malaria has access to an insecticide treated net. A further 200 000 nets will be distributed this year, but more than I million nets will be needed to reach the MDG target on malaria by 2015. The resources needed to achieve universal coverage with malaria control prevention and treatment interventions are estimated at US $45 million over the next 5 years.

“Mauritania is uniquely positioned — it has a national strategic plan, a valid monitoring system, and strong political commitment at the highest levels,” said Dr Jean-Pierre Baptiste, WHO Country Representative. “Mauritania fulfills all preconditions to achieve MDG 6.”  Dr Baptiste highlighted that the four founding RBM partners, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank — are well-coordinated on all health initiatives in Mauritania.

Dr Nafo-Traoré commended the revitalized effort to rid the country of malaria by 2015, the President’s initiative for the acceleration of the attainment of MDGs, supported by the creation of an office in charge of health-related MDGs.  She proposed that the existing coordinating structures for malaria control be supported by strengthening country partnerships and including parliamentarians, communities and Mauritania’s growing corporate sector in the national malaria control efforts.

“With the strong political commitment I have witnessed, the will of different stakeholders, and the support of the RBM Partnership, Mauritania has all the elements in place to reach its malaria targets, said Dr Nafo-Traoré.