Malaria Consortium renews commitment to fight malaria in South Sudan

Malaria Consortium, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the control of malaria and other communicable diseases, announced on Tuesday that it signed the Malaria Program Review with South Sudan and other international partners.

The consortium and the Republic of South Sudan's Ministry of Health signed the review to renew a commitment to battle malaria in the region. The review served as an in-depth assessment of South Sudan's current National Malaria Control Program to assess malaria strategies, goals and interventions. The 12-month review began in March 2012 and could strengthen resource mobilization and planning for scaled up malaria prevention and control in South Sudan, the South Sudan News Agency reports.

South Sudan will use the review to inform the development of a strategic malaria plan for 2014-2018.

"The Malaria Program Review is a key milestone for the now independent Republic of South Sudan and provides an opportunity for an increased commitment to malaria control across the country," Ruth Allen, the consortium's director for South Sudan, said, according to the South Sudan News Agency. "We are very happy to continue our support and strong partnership with the Ministry of Health as they move closer to fulfilling the Abuja commitments."

Harriet Pasquale, the ministry's manager of the National Malaria Control Program, thanked the consortium and other partners for continued support.

"(The review is) a landmark in the re-orientation of the program to effectively deal with malaria," Pasquale said, according to the South Sudan News Agency. "(All partners should) join hands to aggressively eliminate malaria from South Sudan."

The signing was held in Juba and was presided over by South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar Teny. Teny signed the agreement along with representatives from the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, the World Bank and other organizations.

Malaria accounts for approximately 20 to 40 percent of all health facility visits in South Sudan and 30 percent of all hospitalizations. Malaria is the leading cause of death in South Sudan in children under five years of age, the South Sudan News Agency reports.