Indonesia’s Health Ministry has vowed to intensify efforts to erase malaria on the occasion of the World Malaria Day (April 25).

The country still has five provinces with high cases of this deadly disease, which is a major public health problem in many tropical countries.

The high risk provinces are Papua, West Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and North Maluku.

As part of the National Malaria Eradication Programme, the Health Ministry plans to distribute 6.3 million mosquito nets in 2014 to prevent the spread of malaria by anopheles mosquitoes.

According to Director General of the ministry’s Disease Control and Environmental Health Tjandra Yoga Aditama, a total of 3.6 million mosquito nets have been distributed so far.

He added that besides mosquito nets, preventive measures had been taken by spraying mosquito repellant in 49,260 houses in 2013 and 47,966 houses in the previous year.

Health Minister Dr Nafsiah Mboi said currently 200 districts in Indonesia have already been free of malaria and 117 others are expected to be declared free of the disease in the time ahead. She expressed hope that the disease will be eliminated in the country by 2020.

According to the World Health Organization, malaria remains one of the world’s biggest health challenges. It killed more than 600,000 people in 2012.

Therefore, April 25 has been named as World Malaria Day, to remind the public and the world that malaria is both preventable and curable.-VNA