Celebrating World Malaria Day in Ethiopia

On 25 April, hundreds of people travelled to Assosa Stadium – in Ethiopia’s western region of Benishangul-Gumuz – to celebrate World Malaria Day 2012.

Raising awareness of malaria is crucial in Benishangul-Gumuz, one of the few regions in the country where malaria transmission lasts for more than six months in the year.

The event, the first of its kind in the region, was organised by the Regional Health Bureau in partnership with the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, Malaria Consortium, WHO and others. Hundreds of local residents took part in the programme of events which included taekwondo, traditional wrestling and soccer tournaments, as well as music and poetry shows. Over 200 people were tested for malaria on the day.

Malaria Consortium’s Country Director for Ethiopia, Dr. Agonafer Tekalegne, spoke to attendees about the need for a joint effort to tackle malaria in the country. Reminding partners of the global theme of World Malaria Day 2012 – “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria” – Dr Tekalegne noted that in the midst of the Global financial crisis, efforts to manage gaps in funding locally would need to be stepped up.

Malaria represents the largest single cause of morbidity in Ethiopia and, due to climatic fluctuations and drought-related nutritional emergencies, large scale epidemics of the disease tend to break-out every five to eight years with devastating effects (UNICEF). Malaria Consortium has been working to complement the efforts of the Government and other actors in the fight against malaria in Ethiopia since 2004.

Read more about our work in the country here.