Zimbabwe: Malaria Still a Burden in Border Areas

zimbabwe

Malaria burden remains high in border towns in Zimbabwe, especially in areas close to Mozambique, health experts have said. While the overall national statistics indicate a major decline from 5 000 deaths to 300 per year, border districts like Mudzi are still recording high cases.

Speaking during the launch of the Zimbabwean leg of the race against malaria (RAM) 2 campaign at Nyamapanda clinic last week, deputy minister of Health and Child Care, Paul Chimedza said the initiative was paying special attention to the worst affected areas.

“The communities that live in these areas are closely interlinked,” he said. Chimedza said the disease burden was weighing heavily on the battered health delivery service. He said there was need for more funding from partners.

Currently the Global Fund and a few other partners are contributing to malaria control programmes. The provincial medical director for Mashonaland East, Simukai Zizhou said 28 000 cases of malaria had been recorded in 2013 in Mudzi, accounting for over 20% of the population.

“At the moment areas like Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Mutoko and Mudzi top the list,” he said. Cross border movement was posing a challenge to programme interventions and RAM was initiated in Sadc to maximise efforts to control malaria.

Initiated in 2003, RAM includes countries like Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. RAM is a Sadc initiative to create awareness and mobilise resources for action against malaria and to strengthen malaria control infrastructure within the region.

The first RAM campaign was held in November 2003.Convoys of country malaria teams drove from Angola to Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) through Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi.

During the campaign, regional and local partners including the corporate world were instrumental in mobilising malaria commodities which were distributed to support activities for malaria prevention and control in the region.

RAM 2 campaign, which is a reverse of RAM 1, started from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on April 13 2014 and will end on April 25 2014 in Angola. Countries taking part in RAM 2 include Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Tanzania and Angola.

The participants of RAM 2 include individuals, institutions or organisations that share the need for a malaria-free Africa and seek to achieve parasite-free communities. These include Government departments, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, the Corporate world, private sector, health professionals, and uniformed forces.

Source: All Africa


Malaria control efforts saved 3.3 million since 2000, WHO says

Global efforts to curb malaria have saved the lives of 3.3 million people since 2000, cutting global death rates from the mosquito-borne disease by 45 percent and by half in children under 5, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

WHO said in its World Malaria Report 2013 that expanded prevention and control measures helped produce declines in malaria deaths and illness. Of the 3.3 million lives saved, most were in the 10 countries with the highest malaria burden and among children under age 5, the group most afflicted by the disease.

“Investments in malaria control, mostly since 2007, have paid off tremendously,” said Ray Chambers, the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy for malaria.

According to the WHO report, child deaths fell to fewer than 500,000 in 2012.

Overall, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria in 2012, which caused some 627,000 deaths, according to the report, which includes information from 102 countries with malaria transmission.

The estimated number of malaria cases per 1,000 at-risk individuals – a figure that takes population growth into account – shows a 29 percent drop globally between 2000 and 2012, and a 31 percent drop in Africa.

During the same period, death rates per 1,000 at-risk individuals fell by 45 percent globally and 51 percent in children under age 5.

“This remarkable progress is no cause for complacency: absolute numbers of malaria cases and deaths are not going down as fast as they could,” WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said in a statement accompanying the release of the report.

“The fact that so many people are infected and dying from mosquito bites is one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century.”

FUNDING CUTS

Malaria is endemic in more than 100 countries worldwide but can be prevented by the use of bed nets and indoor spraying to keep the mosquitoes that carry the disease at bay. The mosquito-borne parasitic disease kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, mainly babies in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

An estimated 3.4 billion people continue to be at risk for malaria, mostly in Southeast Asia and in Africa where around 80 percent of cases occur.

Chambers said progress against malaria has been threatened by funding cuts in 2011-2012, which translated into a flattening in the curve of the decline. The WHO noted significant drops in delivery of insecticide-treated bed nets in its 2013 report.

But that could begin to ease. Last month, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNICEF, the UK’s Department for International Development and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative agreed to provide over 200 million nets in the next 12 to 18 months, which will replace 120 million existing bed nets and provide 80 million new ones.

WHO also continues to track emerging parasite resistance to artemisinin, the core component of malaria drugs known as artemisinin-based combination therapies, or ACTs, and mosquito resistance to insecticides.

Four countries in Southeast Asia reported artemisinin resistance in 2013, and 64 countries found evidence of insecticide resistance, suggesting recent gains against malaria are still “fragile,” Dr Robert Newman, director of the WHO Global Malaria Programme, said in a telephone interview.

“The greatest threat to the future isn’t biological, but financial. It’s not having enough money to stay a step ahead,” Newman said.

Source: reuters


Malaria, jaundice claim 20 lives in Arunachal in a week

Diseases like malaria and jaundice have claimed 20 lives since last week in Longding district of Arunachal Pradesh, an official report said today.

“This is not the first time when such an epidemic has broken out in Wancho area. In the past, too many such epidemics have been reported.

The reason may be due to the unhygienic way of living and lack of proper health-care facilities,” the report said.

“Though medicines have been rushed they are¬†hardly adequate,” it said. When contacted, Parliamentary Secretary for¬†Information and Public Relation Department, Thangwang Wangham, said that the situation is alarming as every day new cases are being reported.

Wangham, who is the local MLA, said though health workers were in the field there was no tangible respite. The MLA, who is camping at Longding to monitor the situation, has appealed the state government to send relief and more medicines.
Source: one India News