(MENAFN - Arab News) The kingdom is working to prevent malaria in the southern bordering areas as the world commemorated world malaria day on friday.
the kingdom is presently malaria-free owing to the world class health care it provides its citizens but fears are rising as jazan in the southern part of the kingdom is at risk of the viral fever due to its proximity to yemen which is one of the worst-hit countries.
most malaria victims come from the tahama region such as jazan and al-qunfudha with cases increasing in the rainy season. about 97 percent of the cases originate outside the kingdom namely yemen.
a partnership to combat malaria was signed in 2001 between saudi arabia and the republic of yemen with the goal of freeing the peninsula of the disease by 2020.
saudi arabia provides the majority of the financial and technical support and since 2002 the partnership has succeeded in reducing the annual rate of malarial cases by 25 percent according to the ministry of health.
'the gcc is working to eliminate malaria from the arabian peninsula by 2017" said dr. tawfiq ahmed khoja director general of the gcc health ministers' council in riyadh on the occasion of the world malaria day.
he said that combating malaria in saudi arabia and yemen is one of the top priorities on the gcc health ministerial agenda.
the high ranking official said that significant financial and technical aid to yemen is required to prevent malaria from spreading into saudi arabia and other parts of the gulf region.
khoja said that coordination and cooperation between yemen and saudi arabia have to be strengthened especially in the bordering areas between these two countries.
he said that the gcc member states needed to focus more upon yemen to eradicate malaria. 'the national survey indicators of malaria in 2013 in yemen have enabled the gcc region to evaluate its strategy and make comprehensive plans to eradicate malaria" he said.
with this view the kingdom has established a research center of international standards for malaria and other diseases in jazan he added.