Zim on track to eradicate malaria

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BY VANESSA GONYE
ZIMBABWE is on track to win the fight against malaria, after a 70% drop in new cases, officials said.

Fortunate Manjoro, social behavior communications manager at the Ministry of Health, said Zimbabwe had seen a 70% reduction in malaria cases in 2021 compared to 2020.

“Malaria cases in 2020 were
447,382 compared to 133,134 in 2021 and 12% of cases in 2021 were in children under five. Malaria deaths in 2020 were 400 and in 2021 they were 122,” she said.

Manjoro added that Zimbabwe has made progress in the fight against malaria despite the COVID-19 pandemic through the implementation of World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed strategies for the prevention and control of malaria. malaria.

“These include spraying homes with a chemical that kills mosquitoes, testing all suspected cases of malaria and treating positive cases with effective drugs, using long-lasting insecticidal bed nets, engage and participate the community and give malaria prevention drugs to pregnant women who reside in moderate conditions. in areas with high malaria transmission.

She said the government was providing services free of charge to affected communities in the country.

“We are in the height of the malaria transmission season, and I urge everyone to be aware of the symptoms of malaria, including fever/hot body, headache, joint pain and general body weakness, hot and cold spells (sweating, chills and chills), loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea Anyone with these signs and symptoms should be tested and treated within 24 hours of onset. delays can result in death.

Manjoro said the country has yet to start using the malaria vaccine called RTS-S, which proved effective six years ago and was approved by the WHO in October last year. , targeting African children as they are heavily affected by malaria.

“As a country, the vaccine is still under consideration, but has not yet been approved for deployment,” she said. WHO doctor Peter Olumese said the world was generally struggling to cope with malaria, which mainly affects children and pregnant women.

Olumese said a child dies every two minutes from malaria globally, adding: “Globally, we are behind schedule in achieving malaria eradication goals, although efforts are being made, particularly at the regional level, COVID-19 threatened to create massive global destruction as it increased the number of incidents of deadly diseases, prompting response strategies.

As Zimbabwe grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, an outbreak of malaria hit parts of Mashonaland East Province and other parts of the country.

World Malaria Day will be commemorated on April 25 under the theme Advancing Equity: Building Resilience: Ending Malaria.

  • Follow Vanessa on Twitter @vanessa_gonye

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