From John Murwira in Kariba
Mashonaland West Province yesterday commemorated SADC Malaria here amid concern over an increase in malaria cases in the district this year.
Malaria cases accounted for half of all outpatient cases and a quarter of admissions to health institutions in the district. This was attributed to increased rains in the 2016-17 season. The commemorations held at Makande Secondary School were running under the theme “Strong Cross Border Collaboration Key to Malaria Elimination”.
Stakeholders called for concerted efforts to manage the epidemic, which has seen 42 out of every 1 000 people being treated in the district this year. In his address, Kariba House of Assembly Member Cde Isaac Mackenzie said people in the district should continue implementing malaria preventive measures.
“All people here in the district are prone to malaria attack, therefore, I urge you to continuously implement and accept malaria control programmes, which are targeted at reducing malaria cases in the district,” he said.
Cde Mackenzie said the level of malaria cases for 2017 had surpassed figures recorded during the same period in 2015 and 2016
“In Kariba District malaria accounts for almost 50 percent of all the outpatient attendance during the peak transmission period between March and May,” he said. The country, he said had made significant progress in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality rate.
This has seen the country implementing pre-elimination activities in 20 districts by the end of 2015.
“These achievements have been made possible by adoption and implementation of scientifically proven, World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended approaches for malaria prevention, control and elimination which includes indoor vector management (indoor residual spraying, long lasting insecticidal nets, and larva source management.
“This also includes prompt diagnosis of suspected cases with Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDT) kits of microscopy and use of effective medicines to treat positive cases, epidemic preparedness and response, entomology, partnership coordination,” he said.
High population movement in border areas and differences in implementation of malaria interventions from one country to the other has been found to slow down efforts to eliminate malaria cases. To that end, Zimbabwe continues to strengthen cross border collaboration neighbours such as Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.
As part of collaboration, Zimbabwe signed an agreement with Zambia in April this year to operationalise their joint work plans, share data, synchronise interventions and messages. This is expected to lead to both countries contributing to the regional goal of eliminating malaria.
“The E8 regional grant has also facilitated the setting up of one static clinic along the border with Mozambique and one mobile clinic along the border with South Africa to increase access to health services by mobile and cross border communities” he said.
Mashonaland West acting provincial medical director Dr Gift Masoja hailed the Kariba community for accepting malaria programmes and urged them to continue implementing preventive measures.
The SADC Malaria Day commemorations seek to strengthen regional cooperation in the fight against malaria leading to its elimination by 2030. It calls for cross border collaborations and an opportunity to review progress made so far. At least half of the world’s population particularly in Africa is at risk of malaria.