Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Cases of malaria have gone up by about 25 percent this year compared to the same period last year in Manicaland province contributing about 43 percent to the national malaria burden, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said.
In an interview with The Herald yesterday ahead of the World Malaria Day commemorated on April 25 every year internationally, national malaria coordinator Dr Joseph Mberikunashe attributed the increase to multiple ponds of stagnant water left by Cyclone Idai, which provide conducive breeding space for malaria parasites.
“We have begun seeing increased cases of malaria in some districts in Manicaland province following Cyclone Idai that ravaged the province in March.
“Manicaland only has contributed almost half of all cases of malaria so far recorded in the country,” said Dr Mberikunashe.
He said a total of 49 665 cases have so far been reported in the province since the beginning of the year against a national figure of 117 714 during the same period.
Dr Mberikunashe said nationally, malaria cases have, however, increased by nine percent.
He said Government, with support from its partners, was already offering mosquito nets and was also mobilising resources for procurement and distribution of mosquito repellents.
Meanwhile, Dr Mberikunashe said, in line with this year’s theme, Zimbabwe was doing well in malaria control with a total of 28 of its district vying for malaria elimination.
This year’s theme for World Malaria Day is “End Malaria for Good” and the day is hosted by the World Health Organisation.
“The country has made progress in eliminating malaria and has even been awarded by the African Union for its progress. More than half of our districts are now at malaria elimination stage, something that we are very proud of as a country,” said Dr Mberikunashe.
WHO defines malaria elimination as the interruption of indigenous transmission of a specified malaria parasite species in a defined geographic area.
Dr Mberikunashe, however, said this year, the country will not hold national commemorations due to other pressing commitments.
This annual event is a worldwide effort, to raise awareness of malaria and funds for the treatment and prevention of malaria.
The day serves to highlight the need for better political intervention in malaria control and prevention.
The day also marks the continuing great achievements in the fight against malaria.