Source: Malaria cases surge | The Herald April 1, 2017
Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
The country has recorded a significant increase in malaria cases this year compared to the same period in the last two years, national malaria manager in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Joseph Mberikunashe has said.
Dr Mberikunashe said 119 593 cases were recorded from the first week to the 11th week this year, compared to 73 019 and 82 328 cases during the same period for 2016 and 2015 respectively.
Responding to whether or not the increase had been triggered by the floods, Dr Mberikunashe said: “Yes, there has been an increase in malaria cases, but this is not only in places with flooding. With malaria, the heavy rains interrupted by sunny periods increase breeding sites in all receptive areas.”
He said Manicaland and Masvingo provinces were the hardest hit.
Dr Mberikunashe said Chiredzi, Mwenezi and Mberengwa districts — that were affected by flooding — also reported malaria outbreaks.
Chiredzi District this year recorded 14 641 cases during the period under review, while 2 684 cases were recorded during the same period last year.
In 2015, the district recorded 5 975 cases.
Mwenezi District recorded 1 284 cases this year, 229 last year and 547 in 2015 during the same period, while Mberengwa District recorded 138 this year, 54 last year and 50 in year 2015.
Dr Mberikunashe said community malaria case management was ongoing.
“The response teams have been conducting support visits to the affected clinics, giving technical support and sourcing essential medicines and test kits,” he said.
“Community meetings are being held to ensure the people know prevention measures and also to seek treatment early when they get symptoms.”
Dr Mberikunashe said spraying had been done in Mutare City, Mwenezi, Chiredzi and Goromonzi as a preventative measure.
He said nets had also been distributed in Chipinge, where the displaced people were most affected by malaria.
Dr Mberikunashe urged people to sleep in sprayed houses; make use of nets and mosquito repellents; and to cut long grass, as well as removing all possible pools of water around them.
He also advised people to seek treatment early when they have symptoms of malaria.