By Kuvee Kangueehi
The Director of Health in the Oshana Region Dr Naftali Hamata says the north-central regions of Namibia can expect more cases of malaria this year due to the high rainfall and floods in the areas.
Speaking to New Era yesterday, Hamata said mosquitoes are on the increase in the region because of the many pools of water and could start breeding soon when the inflow of water from Angola stops.
Hamata said the mosquitoes have not started breeding yet because the water is still flowing, but the situation could change in the near future.
The director also bemoaned the fact that most people are using mosquito nets given to them to catch fish and other water creatures instead of protecting themselves against mosquitoes.
He said the ministry last year donated hundreds of nets to pregnant women, the elderly and children under the age of five. He said it is disappointing to find that the nets are being misused.
Hamata urged regional governors to encourage their communities to use the mosquito nets as more malaria cases will put pressure on the health facilities in the region.
Hamata said rainfall was poor last year and thus there were fewer cases of malaria, while the ministry also sprayed almost 90% of the region with DTD.
He added that the ministry in the last two years has introduced the rabbit test which can in a matter of minutes determine whether one has malaria or not, and this enables the patient to get treatment quickly if it is required.
Hamata further revealed that flooding has also affected the ministry’s outreach programme. Out of the 38 points, 11 are not accessible. This means immunization programmes at these points have stopped.
He added that in the Oshana Region, three clinics are extremely difficult to access and the ministry has to take long roads, while it takes experienced drivers to reach these health facilities.
With more floodwaters expected to flow in, Hamata said, the ministry has increased the provision of medicine to the health facilities in the region.
The director also revealed that the ministry has ordered tablets that purify water and will distribute them to the entire region so that people who use rainwater for drinking can at least drink purified water.
Hamata said flooding could lead to the outbreak of diseases such as diarrhoea.
He said although no cases have been reported yet, the ministry fears cholera and typhoid the most.