Zim makes strides in eradicating malaria
ZIMBABWE has made significant progress in the fight against malaria, recording a 68 percent decline in cases and a 55 percent decline in deaths between 2020 and 2022.
The country has joined the rest of the region in commemorating SADC Malaria Day as it seeks to continue creating awareness about malaria and encouraging the community to participate in the malaria control programmes.
The Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Douglas Mombeshora commended the strides made by the country in eliminating the disease.
“Zimbabwe has reported a decline in malaria cases and deaths. Malaria cases declined by 68.6 percent from 447 381 cases in 2020 to 140 170 in 2022 and deaths declined by nearly 55.8 percent from 400 in 2020 to 177 in 2022. It is crucial that as Ministries of Health, we double our efforts towards eliminating malaria. Zimbabwe remains committed to collaborating with neighbouring nations on malaria prevention and control, in order to align strategies and achieve zero transmission,” he said in a statement.
This year’s event was observed under the theme: ‘Resilient health systems and communities key to malaria elimination’ and the slogan was ‘Timely access to malaria services, everyone’s right’.
The theme acknowledged the importance of having well-resourced resilient health systems as well as communities that are capacitated, in the national health priorities and their role in prevention and control of malaria.
SADC countries were reminded to invest in strategies that ensure that all marginalised populations are reached with prevention, diagnosis, and treatment services for the region to eliminate malaria.
Close to 68 percent of Zimbabwe’s population lives in malaria risk areas.
To control malaria, the country uses strategies which include Indoor Residual Spraying, use of long-lasting insecticidal nets, intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy, use of efficacious medicines to treat malaria, advocacy and community engagement, and epidemic preparedness and response.
“Malaria elimination is everyone’s business. We would like to call upon the private sector to join the fight against malaria. We are determined to reach all the vulnerable populations and fulfil our objective of zero local transmission in at least 11 districts and increase the elimination districts to 36 by 2025, as outlined in the National Malaria Control and Elimination Strategy 2021-2025, extended to 2026,” said Secretary for Health and Child Care, Dr Aspect Maunganidze.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care will continue to prioritise resource mobilisation for malaria to realise our vision of a malaria free Zimbabwe.”
WHO representative in Zimbabwe Professor Jean-Marie Dangou said it was important for countries to collaborate in the elimination of malaria.
“With climate change, we will witness an increase in malaria cases, therefore increased investment in malaria prevention strategies is critical. Cross country collaboration is one of the best buys to eliminate malaria and WHO along with all partners, will continue to collaborate and find new strategies and tools to eliminate malaria,” he said.
The Malaria Control Programme in Zimbabwe continues to receive technical and financial support from partners such as the Global Fund, WHO, USAID, PML, CHAI as well as communities and their leadership, which has contributed to the building of resilient health systems that has resulted in improved implementation of control activities leading to reduction in mortality and morbidity.