A biolarvicide plant, the first of its kind in Africa, was launched here amid hopes that the country was on the right track towards winning the war against the deadly malaria. President Jakaya Kikwete and visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn inaugurated the plant that will produce environmental friendly biolarvicides to destroy mosquito larvae in the breading area, without any negative effect on humans and animals.
President Kikwete reiterated the country’s zero- tolerance against malaria, saying he will leave office in October a happiest man, having been assured that Tanzanians are safe as far as malaria was concerned. He said his government had started fighting malaria through use of a three-pronged approach, including use of Artemesin combination therapy since other drugs in use had become resistant; promoting use of treated mosquito nets and indoor residue spraying. “Using the combination therapy we managed to reduce malaria infection rates from 18 per cent in 2007 to 10 per cent in 2012. We also have reduced deaths resulting from malaria by 71 per cent,” he explained.
He added that more than 26 million people are now using treated mosquito nets including pregnant mothers and children under-five years. He noted that there has been a tremendous increase of use of treated mosquito nets from 23 per cent in 2004 to 92 per cent in 2012. He explained that the biolarvicides project, which is under the management of the National Development Corporation (NDC), is a product of his official visit to Cuba in 2009, where he visited LABIOFAM Industries, which use similar technology to destroy mosquito breeding places and putting malaria in check.
“This plant is a strategic investment in the fight against malaria in the country and the continent in general. We are declaring war against malaria and we are confident we will eradicate malaria,” he explained. He urged NDC to run the plant efficiently, diligently and commercially, stressing that he does not expect that plant to incur losses because there is a vast market for the product within and outside the country.
On his part, Mr Dessalegn said that as the current chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), he will campaign for Africa to use products from the plant to fight malaria in the continent. “I believe the plant is a very important milestone in the fight against malaria in the African continent.