Fortunate Gora Mash West Correspondent
Malaria cases in Zimbabwe are steadily decreasing following Government’s implementation of a seven-pronged national plan to reduce the disease’s burden in the country.
Incidents of the disease have declined over the years from 1,5 million to two million cases per year in the early 2000, to between 600 000 and 535 000 cases per year from 2010 to 2014.
This came out at a sensitisation workshop for health workers held in Karoi last week.
Hurungwe District health promotion officer Mr Komborero Gotoso said the use of village health workers has played a pivotal role in reducing malaria cases in Zimbabwe.
“The participation of community -based health workers has significantly increased the availability of health services to individuals and communities,” he said.
“There is now expanded health services coverage to those living in areas where malaria is a problem.”
Mr Gotoso, however, said although malaria cases are on the decline, the disease remains a challenge to some border areas such as Chirundu and Kariba.
“The districts that share borders with Mozambique and Zambia remain with the largest malaria burden,” he said.
“We also have some of the central districts recording increasingly fewer cases between 2002 and 2014.”
He said 50 percent of Zimbabwe’s population resides in malaria transmission areas and are at risk of developing the disease.
“There are 62 districts in the country, of which 47 are malaria transmission areas and the intensity of transmission varies among these,” he said.
Malaria is one of the major causes of illness and death in Zimbabwe.
Though everyone is at risk of getting malaria, infants, pregnant women and people with poor immune systems are the most vulnerable.
To fight the disease, Government has over the years implemented a seven-pronged national plan with the following elements: malaria case management, integrated vector control, disease surveillance, epidemic management, social and behaviour change communication, prevention of malaria in pregnancy and operations research