Article by Kenias Chivuzhe
MALARIA cases have declined by close to 20 000 cases this year in Manicaland Province, attributed to enhanced control mechanisms and awareness.
The country’s target to reduce malaria incidence to 17 cases per 1000 population and malaria deaths by at least 90 percent within the next two years is firmly on course as the country’s malaria burden is on a sharp decline.
In an interview during a media tour in Mutare, acting Manicaland Provincial Medical Director Dr Munyaradzi Mukuzunga stated progress recorded to control the epidemic in the province.
“Over the years, we had been the most highly burdened province in terms of malaria. We normally contribute about 35 percent of the total burden for the whole country and slightly less in terms of mortality. In 2021 we had 38 315 cases, but in 2022 we had 20 858 cases. Last year, we reported 36 deaths and for the same period this year we have reported 15 deaths. We are happy that two to three of our districts used to record three figure digits of malaria cases per 1 000 population, but this year all of our districts will be less than 100,” he said.
Part of the success has been achieved through indoor residual spraying and engagement of village health workers to diagnosis and treat malaria.
“Our community health workers diagnose and treat Malaria after we have trained them. That has strengthened case management and diagnoses of Malaria. Community health workers are closer to people and quickly attend to patients thereby reducing deaths. Case fatalities are very low and we hope to maintain that as we aim to have zero deaths,” noted Dr Mukuzunga,
Meanwhile the vaccination campaign against polio also yielded positive results in the province.
“Efforts to increase surveillance to ensure we control polio were made when the first cases were announced in Mozambique. We have just finished our first round of Polio vaccination and achieved a coverage of 91.7 percent. We engaged our Mozambique counterparts to conduct the vaccination campaign at the same time,” he added.
Authorities also say they have scored huge to vaccinate against measles covering 95 percent for Buhera, Chimanimani, Mutare, Nyanga and Mutasa while Chipinge, Mutare City and Makoni had a coverage of 83.1 percent.