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Commemorating World Malaria Day in Hormozgan

World Malaria Day was commemorated in Bandar Abbas, Hormozgan province, on 9th May 2013 with the participation of the Government, National Parliament, Academia, and teams from World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Mr. Azizi, Governor General of Hormozgan Province, Dr. Shekari, the chancellor of Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, a team from UN headed by Mr. Gary Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and WHO Representative Dr. Jihane Tawilah, participated in the event.

Dr. Shekari, inaugurated the event and in his welcoming speech highlighted achievements of the malaria elimination plan in the 3 malaria-prone provinces in Iran, including the total elimination of the local cases of falciparum malaria in Kerman Province two years ahead of the target. Current interventions against malaria are expected to help achieve falciparum malaria elimination earlier than the national target across the country.

Given the development impact of malaria, the Governors-General of the three provinces- Kerman, Hormozgan and Sistan & Baluchistan, have been appointed to implement the plan. The number of local malaria cases was reduced from 5499 in 2009 to 734 in 2012, according national data, showing a drastic reduction.

Dr. Mohammad Mehdi Gouya, Director General of Center for Disease Control (CDC) drew the attention of the meeting to the fact that malaria is the 12th cause of morbidity and imposes heavy social and economic burden on the societies across the globe.

Currently, the efficacy of malaria vaccination stands around 40% according to Dr. Gouya therefore integrated vector control, early detection and prompt treatment are still of crucial importance in the fight against malaria. "Today we are equipped with good diagnostic and treatment tools and facilities to detect and control malaria" Dr. Gouya said.

Despite the longstanding efforts at the global level, malaria is still considered a major health and development threat. According to the WHO only 10% of malaria cases are detected worldwide.

Dr. Jihane Tawila, WHO Resident Representative, congratulated Iran for the dramatic decline in local malaria achieved in the past 10 years through relentless efforts of the National Malaria Programme and its partners.

She underlined that “today Iran is closer than ever to its malaria elimination goals, meaning that Iran could increase its regional partnership with other countries and take the lead in addressing the pressing cross border issues related to malaria and promote vector control and pesticide management issues.”

Commending the strong commitment and major accomplishments of the Government of the Islamic Republic in combatting malaria, the UN Resident Coordinator in Iran, Gary Lewis stated that “Iran’s non-discriminatory approach to provide free malaria care and treatment services to both Iranian and non-Iranians alike needs to be recognized both within the region and by the wider international community.”

He concluded his remarks by addressing the political leaders in endemic countries to maintain the same level of support like in Iran and committed the United Nations to further support the Islamic Republic of Iran to fight against malaria.

6 years ago the Malaria Project funded by the Global Fund started in Iran in close partnership with Iran’s Country Coordinating Mechanism aiming at reducing the incidence of malaria through its National Malaria Strategic Plan. Over 33 million people have benefitted so far directly or indirectly from the current phase of the project covering 11 provinces in the country.

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