BY LORRAINE MUROMO/NHAU MANGIRAZI
ZIMBABWE has made huge strides in reducing malaria cases and deaths, Vice-President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga has said.
In a statement to mark World Malaria Day yesterday, Chiwenga said Zimbabwe had reduced the cases by 79% and deaths by 42% following the launch of an intensive anti-malaria campaign between 2015 and 2019.
World Malaria Day is commemorated on April 25 each year.
“I recommend the use of appropriate malaria prevention interventions, sleeping under the net, allowing houses to be sprayed, and going for testing and treatment of malaria within 24 hours,” he said.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said: “Malaria used to kill more than one million people, 85% of them being Africans, south of the Sahara, but up until 10 years ago, we started to record less than 500 000 cases in a year.
“Morbidity for malaria is still on the high side with close to 230 million people getting malaria in a year globally, but death from the disease circles around 410 000 which was recorded in 2019.”
He said people should take precautions to fight malaria despite more effort being put towards fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The complications that arise from malaria might be life-threatening, and so we need early diagnostics,” Marisa said.
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said: “We draw the line against malaria by taking action to end the disease at this time when COVID-19 has made the fight to end malaria harder. On this day, we highlight and appreciate efforts that have been made over the years to control and celebrate the gains made to date.”
Rusike said COVID-19 had complicated efforts to fight malaria, adding that its fight should remain a
“Key to fighting malaria is building stronger health systems, which have been weakened further by the onset of COVID-19. To achieve this, there is need for stronger political leadership, more funding and increased innovation,” Rusike said.
Women and Aids Support Network director Tariro Kutadza said dealing with malaria was a big challenge in the country’s outlying areas along the Zambezi Valley in Mashonaland West province, as well as the central provinces which are the worst
‘‘In Zimbabwe, 79% of the population is at risk of contracting malaria. Although the country has made significant progress towards malaria elimination, isolated seasonal outbreaks persistently resurface mostly in Beitbridge, Guruve and Kariba rural, among others. We must brace up for the fight,’’Kutadza said.
- Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe