Malaria Situation Under Control

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Although too much rain normally contributes to an increase in malaria cases, this year’s prolonged rain period in Namibia appears to have disturbed the breeding cycle of mosquitoes. Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease that is transmitted from person to person through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Services Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday told New Era that malaria cases this year were not as high as anticipated at the beginning of the rainy season. The prolonged and consistent rains that the country has received so far might have disturbed the breeding process of mosquitoes. Severe winter that started recently might also contribute to the unfavourable conditions for mosquito breeding, the PS stated. Though he could not provide statistics, Shangula added that the Kavango and Ohangwena areas have already recorded increased cases of malaria in the past few months. However, he indicated that though cases might be there, the problem is unlikely to reach epidemic proportions. “Though the curve is steadily rising, the situation could not be said to be going out of control given the spraying campaigns that were done in malaria prone areas,” said Shangula. The ministry every year prepares itself for anti-malaria campaigns and given the financial assistance from the Global fund, campaigns for this season were conducted widely. Last year July, the country received N$288 million from the Global Fund. The funds were channelled towards the boosting of 31 HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis projects in the country. The Southern Africa Malaria Forecast for the 2005/6 Malaria Season shows that Southern Africa is likely to receive normal to above normal rains during the 2005/2006 malaria season with possibilities of a bimodal malaria transmission pattern with the first malaria incidence increase occurring in December 2005 and January 2006 and a second wave during the months of April and May 2006. Yesterday, Africa Malaria Day 2006 marked the sixth anniversary of the Abuja Declaration and Plan of Action when Heads of State or senior representatives from 44 malaria-afflicted countries in Africa agreed to a series of interim goals to be attained by 2005 and to halve the world’s malaria burden by 2010. The disease kills 1.1 million people every year, most of them children. This day seeks to remind the world of its responsibility to commit resources to the control of this preventable and treatable disease. In Africa, around 90 percent of the more than one million deaths from malaria worldwide occur each year and this constitutes 10 percent of the continent’s overall disease burden.