Malaria cases on increase in Oshikoto

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Obrein Simasiku

Omuthiya-Oshikoto Region has reported 102 new malaria cases in the first three weeks of January 2017, a rise when compared to the 25 cases recorded in the same period in 2016. Fortunately no deaths were recorded from the disease.

The increase was as a result of pools of stagnant water due to recent good rains.
It was reported last year that cases of malaria were exceptionally high in Ohangwena Region where about 430 cases and unconfirmed fatalities were recorded.

Oshana Region recorded 50 cases and three fatalities, while Oshikoto recorded 93 cases with no deaths.

Last year the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna, was quoted in New Era as saying: “Namibia has made tremendous progress in reducing malaria cases by 98 percent and deaths by 95 percent between 2001 and 2015. The country has thus met the Abuja Target and Millennium Development Goal 6 of reducing malaria mortality and morbidity by 60 percent.”

She was further quoted saying: “Increases in malaria cases were registered not only in Namibia, but also among southern Africa neighbours such as Angola and Botswana. These outbreaks are linked to environmental and epidemiological changes in the country and in neighbouring countries, but are particularly severe in areas with poor implementation of malaria interventions.”

It is against this background that the Ministry of Health and Social Services cautioned people to drain any stagnant water around their houses and clear overgrown grass, which are normally ideal mosquito breeding grounds.

Furthermore people are urged to sleep under treated mosquito nets all the time, as well as use mosquito repellent or traditional herbs.

In addition, the ministry pleaded with the community to always allow men and women to spray their houses during the spraying programme to keep them protected.

According to the regional health director Peter Angala everyone with signs and symptoms of malaria such as fatigue, headaches, abdominal pains, vomiting, diarrhoea, back pains, fever, chills and sweating should visit a health facility and have a malaria test.

This can be a rapid diagnostic test or blood slide microscopy.
If tested positive the person is required to take a full course of malaria treatment as prescribed.

He reiterated they will intensify awareness and malaria alertness through the distribution of educational flyers.

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