Malaria sickens over 11 000 this year

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Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-The latest statistics from the Ministry of Health and Social Services revealed that 18 people died of malaria between January to date this year, while 11 902 people tested positive for the disease.

Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku said earlier this month the most affected regions are Kavango East, Kavango West, Ohangwena and Zambezi.

Statistics obtained from the health ministry indicate that during the week of March 8 to 14, a total of 2 266 people in Kavango East and Kavango West were tested for malaria of whom 132 tested positive.

In Zambezi Region, 718 people were tested for malaria of whom 34 tested positive during the same week.

During March 15 to 22, 16 425 people were tested for malaria in the two Kavango regions and out of this number 865 people tested positive.
In Zambezi, during the same period, 2 840 people were tested for malaria of whom 129 were positive.

In Ohangwena, 336 people were tested for malaria during the week of March 15-22 and out of this number eight tested positive.

“This increase in malaria cases is influenced by climatic and environmental factors as well as significant cross-border population movement from high malaria endemic countries,” said Haufiku.

He said teams in the field in remote areas are going from village to village to bring the situation under control by, amongst others, testing people, treating them and giving them information on the disease.

“We will contain this malaria outbreak. For the next 60 days we should be able to contain the record,” said Haufiku.

Ironically significant progress was made towards the goal of eradicating malaria by 2020 with a 96 percent reduction in cases and deaths since 2001. In 2001, 735 510 cases were registered with 1 747 deaths, said Haufiku.

The prevalence dropped to 3 163 cases and four deaths in 2012.

“Unfortunately a resurgence occurred over the past three years with 24 682 cases reported in 2016, and 87 people succumbed to the disease,” said Haufiku.

The minister added: “As evidenced by the outbreaks observed in 2014, 2016 and 2017, Namibia remains at risk for malaria epidemics and resurgence.”

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