Malaria cases drop

Drought has an upside

23 May 2019 | Health

Cases of malaria have dropped significantly in the two Kavango regions, with only

1 120 cases recorded so far this year, while over 6 000 were recorded by this time last year.

This was revealed by acting Kavango health director Dr Abiola Adesina, who attributed the drop to last year's successful Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) programme and less rainfall experienced this year.

Namibian Sun previously reported that by September last year there were 24 000 recorded cases with 32 deaths.

“Our efforts have yielded the dividends in terms of malaria control but we still have a long way to go,” Adesina said after the official opening of the Namibia-Angola cross-border meeting which is currently underway at Rundu.

“Perhaps this year we recorded low cases of malaria because of the little rain we received. Having said that we also had a better coverage of our vector control programme, the IRS of last year, which has impacted on the few cases of malaria that we have seen this year,” Adesina said.

The Kavango East and Kavango West regions are among the most affected when it comes to malaria cases recorded in Namibia.

For example, in April 2017, the two Kavango regions, reported

4 617 cases - four times more than the second highest number of

1 184 in the Ohangwena Region.

Adesina said the regional directorate is currently planning this year's IRS programme and appealed to community members to respond positively to those who will be deployed to spray houses.

Since 2016, government has been using an insecticide called K-Othrine which is a cost-effective alternative to DDT and persists for six months. DDT's soil half-life is between two and 15 years.

Adesina said that if the IRS programme is well-implemented, malaria cases in the regions can be eliminated.

When asked whether the IRS programme is also effective in Angola, as concerns were raised in the past over that country's challenges in terms of carrying out the programme, Adesina said this is one of the issues that is being discussed at the cross-border meeting.

He emphasised that the issues of disease surveillance and improved treatment are among the positive results of the cross-border engagements.

However, there have also been challenges with the use of issued mosquito nets being used to fish. In April 2017, Malaria Elimination 8 (E8) ambassador Dr Richard Kamwi, told Namibian Sun that even if the health ministry distributes mosquito nets to every Namibian, if they are not using them to protect themselves against mosquitoes, then the country and E8 will not succeed in their plan to contain malaria by 2020.

KENYA KAMBOWE