SINAZONGWE recorded over 130 cases of malaria between January and March this year, says Southern Province chief environmental health officer Likando Mukelabai.
And Dr Lyapa Sikazwe, a public health specialist, says the Ministry of Health will soon embark on the distribution of close to 800,000 mosquito nets, a programme that was last done in the province in 2017.
In his presentation at the Southern Province Journalists’ Malaria Elimination Strategy Review meeting at New Fairmount Hotel, Mukelabai said deaths due to malaria have declined.
“In the last quarter of 2019, Sinazongwe recorded 139.5 malaria cases, Gwembe had 25.4, Zimba 14.7, Livingstone 1.5, Chikakanka 13.0, Pemba 12.8, Choma 7.0, Mazabuka 3.3, Monze 2.8 and Namwala had 1.4,” he said. “In the first quarter of this year, Sinazongwe recorded 137.3 cases, Siavonga 119.7, Gwembe 88.6, Kazungula 63.9, Monze 9.5 and Livingstone had 3.7 cases.” Mukelabai however, warned that if certain interventions are not increased, there may be an increase in malaria cases.
He added that Southern Province recorded the lowest malaria incidences in the country with a -51 per cent record in 2018.
He noted that despite this record, the cases had actually increased from those recorded in 2017.
“In 2017 malaria cases in the province stood at 31,735 but increased to 47,905 in 2018,” said Mukelabai.
And Dr Sikazwe said there has been a steady rise in malaria cases and called for scaling up of prevention interventions such as in-door spraying and the use of mosquito nets.
Dr Sikazwe, who is also acting Southern Province medical director, noted that this would be challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need to get all houses that should be sprayed to be sprayed and we ask you (journalists) to help us spread this information. You are our key pillars. For those [houses] we can’t spray, we shall embark on massive distribution of treated mosquito nets,” Dr Sikazwe said.
He said the nets were very expensive and should not be used as fishing nets.
Dr Sikazwe indicated that with the support of the Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), the Ministry of Health has managed to engage with key stakeholders such as traditional leaders and journalists.
“Together we can fight malaria,” said Dr Sikazwe.