HEALTH and Child Care ministry officials yesterday said they were investigating some Goromonzi headmen who allegedly seized villagers’ donated mosquito nets over unpaid debts.
National malaria control manager in the ministry Joseph Mberikunashe told NewsDay that the seizures had hampered government efforts to control the spread of malaria.
“There are reports from Goromonzi near Pote Clinic in Domboshava that a couple of headmen have taken away mosquito nets which were given to some families as a precautionary measure,” Mberikunashe said.
He added: “We understand the headmen took the nets saying the people have debts, but we are giving these nets to people so that they protect themselves from malaria and some people take those nets away. It is very unethical. It is tantamount to taking someone’s medication because these nets are meant to prevent malaria which is a killer disease. We hope the headmen will return those nets because we cannot have people dying from malaria when they can protect themselves from the disease. This is very worrying especially if the local leadership is the one doing this.”
Mberikunashe said the government had so far distributed 1,3 million mosquito nets countrywide and acquired substantial amounts of fumigants for distribution in malaria-prone districts such as Victoria Falls, Hwange, Binga, Beitbridge, Kariba, Mudzi and parts of Manicaland
“We are hoping to start spraying towards the end of September.”
He said they had so far recorded at least 461 668 cases and 580 malaria-related deaths since January.
“The deaths recorded so far are higher than those we recorded last year same time as we had at least 350 deaths.”
Malaria is a life-threatening blood disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans by the anopheles mosquito. Malaria can kill a person within 48 hours of onset of symptoms if not treated immediately.