Somalilandsun – It is not important to ask ourselves at as to why, how or when the malaria disease has visited our doorsteps or homesteads. It is likewise not important as to ask ourselves where it originated from and why now!
The crux of the matter is that it is here and here with a bang. But should it be here to stay? Good heavens, NO! Despite the fact that the Hargeisa heath coordinator and his counterpart in Gebiley decided to move fairly and commendably fast hence take drugs and basic prevention and control facilities to the affected areas (in our lead story), we are perturbed that the action taken vis-à-vis the looming disaster is markedly not at par.
Being the top-most, number one, killer in East Africa for decades, its entry into SL should be naturally a top-notch national issue – in fact, a top grade/ first class national disaster.
We of course acknowledge the fact that the previous Health Minister Dr. Hussein-Hoog had warned of impending and pertinent danger of malaria epidemic, but sadly, not even one heralded soul got moved by the warning.
In fact some, quite rightly by then, thought that the endemic culicidae mosquito bites that wrecked havoc in the land by spreading the heart threatening “break bone” disease did not even get corresponding public awareness campaigns, let alone the plasmodia-infecting anopheles that were not even habituating within the country!
It is of course an open secret that diseases generally reach new destinations either by “accident” or “design” – whatever the means and/ or whichever the mode.
The dangue fevers of the middle ages to the Ebola saga of the seventies or even the HIV/AIDs in the late 80’s to the 90’s had their own tales of disagreements, accusations and counter accusations.
We shouldn’t in the meantime blubber or wonder but put gear into high motion and, not only try to “Roll Back” the malaise, but technically and practically stop it on its tracks; after all, climate change has drastically changed adaptive tendencies of many a species to new habitué.
In being obliged into accepting a formidable situation with a monumental task ahead, once again we call upon the state, through its health, environmental, interior, information, social, and other line departments to declare a top category disaster and pull material and moral resources together and take by the horns the tackling of this malaise at its nurturing stage before it precariously becomes an endemically serious case.
SL can not, repeat, can NOT afford at all a malaria-prone scenario.
It is a direct attack to its future due its fatality on life, just as it debilitates the economy.
As we call upon national mobilizations of wider scale, this column is brought to the memory of sadly a scenario almost a decade ago, whose reminiscence bordered on lack of immediate public acknowledgement and grasp of a dangerous similar situation.
The THT boldly revealed, for the first time ever in the country, the presence and imminent spread of the HIV/AIDs pandemic in Somaliland only to be challenged, threatened and ridiculed. Our integrity was however lent credence a fortnight later by the move of a similarly bold couple who went public hence revealed that they were indeed stricken by the ailment.
This time round, however, the concerned department has come out first, but sadly, in arguably a belated low key.
We commend them though and plead to the state, international agencies and local ones to work round the clock with the media and all stakeholders to rightfully make the members of the public aware of what the situation really portends.
This week several commuters and revelers at chat chewing joints were heard wondering loudly whether malaria could be contaminated from human to human; thus through air, water etc!
The author M.A.Egge is the editor of The horn Tribune a weekly English newspaper published in Hargeisa by the state owned Dawan Media group