GOVERNMENT has scaled up its malaria prevention and awareness campaigns following reports that the disease had affected over 9 600 people and claimed 19 lives since the beginning of this year, NewsDay has learnt.
Health and Child Care ministry malaria programme manager Joseph Mberikunashe on Tuesday said that the high death rate was mainly caused by delays in seeking medical treatment.
“So far since the beginning of the year, we have had 19 malaria deaths,” Mberikunashe said. “We have over 9 000 people who have already been treated already and we expect the figures to go up this rainy season. This is mostly the time we have a problem of malaria.”
Over 600 people last year succumbed to malaria, a disease caused by a female mosquito whose symptoms are fever, fatigue, vomiting and headache.
In extreme cases, it can cause yellow skin, seizures and coma that results in death.
Mberikunashe added: “Most people are seeking help late with most of them coming to health centres when the disease is at an advanced stage and difficult to manage.
“The best way to deal with malaria is through prevention. On that, we have since done the spraying and completed spraying households in December. We also distributed mosquito nets countrywide and we hope people are using those nets and are sleeping in the houses we sprayed.”