Namibia to host SADC E8 High Level meeting

Cabinet has directed the foreign relations and health ministries to begin preparations for the hosting of a high-level meeting on the elimination of malaria in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) next month.

During its this week, cabinet approved that the government host the SADC Elimination Eight (E8) High-Level Meeting from 04 to 05 September in Windhoek.

Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Kalumbi Shangula, told Nampa on Friday that the meeting is aimed at raising awareness against Malaria in the region.

‘In order to rekindle the effort to continue to sustain the campaign against malaria, a meeting is called for SADC ministers responsible for health,’ Shangula said.

According to the minister, E8 is a coalition of eight countries in Southern Africa that collaborate to eliminate malaria by 2030.

He said malaria is endemic in Namibia and other SADC countries, except Lesotho.

‘The meeting is important to raise awareness about the importance of reaching the goals of malaria elimination and also to recommit the member states to provide sufficient financial and human resources to fight malaria,’ Shangula said.

Former health minister and malaria expert, Dr Richard Kamwi, also told Nampa in a separate interview that the E8 was supposed to have eradicated malaria in Namibia, Eswatini, Botswana and South Africa by 2020, as well as the remaining member states by 2030.

Kwamwi said the four countries were among the 20 member states that the World Health Organization (WHO) designated to eliminate the mosquito-borne disease more than ten years ago.

‘But as we speak, the WHO has taken those four member states off that list because the cases of malaria have moved up,’ Kamwi said.

In 2012, Kamwi said Namibia only recorded two cases of malaria, which were imported from Angola.

‘As we speak, we are now reporting thousands of cases of malaria indigenous to Namibia. This is the same trend in Eswatini, South Africa, and Botswana,’ he said.

Kawami, the founding chairperson of the E8 Council of Ministers, said the next month’s meeting will help revive the fight against malaria, which was interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

‘We want to have that meeting in order to revive and maximise our diplomacy. Meaning all those member states will be invited, including the ministries of health and finance. We want to advocate and raise the bar in order for the ministries of health to receive budgets,’ he said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency