Bridget Mananavire 15 May 2017
HARARE – Zimbabwe has launched a new treatment for malaria, marking the
latest step in a program to stem growing resistance to older treatments
such as chloroquine.
This comes as multidrug-resistant malaria superbugs have taken hold in
parts of Zimbabwe, threatening to undermine progress against the disease.
Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa said the decision to
change the drug treatment has been informed by the high rate of
Zimbabwe remains a high malaria burden country, with over 89 000 cases of
the deadly disease and 151 deaths recorded in the first nine weeks of
“What has happened with malaria is that there is a new first line drug
treatment called artemisinin – which is the newest drug now that is being
used for malaria. Other drugs such as chloroquine were found to be
resistant in many areas,” Parirenyatwa said in an interview with the Daily
“In other words, if you give chloroquine, the person is not healed because
the mosquito `bacteria’ was now resisting chloroquine, that’s why we went
to artemisinin, and that’s our first line of treatment now.
“The resistance is rampant enough for us to sit down and say let’s change
Last week, three Health ministers from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi
signed an agreement committing to fighting malaria by designing and
implementing a comprehensive and coordinated response to the disease.
Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through
bites by the female anopheles mosquito.
“The burden of malaria now as you know, because of the flooding, the
waters, there was more breeding sites of malaria but particularly along
the borders , it’s along the borders with Mozambique that we have the
highest burden and we went there,” Parirenyatwa said.
“That’s why we went to Mozambique to try and see how we can treat our
people on both sides of the border.”
Other issues affecting the treatment of malaria in Zimbabwe, according to
the Health ministry, were of people failing to access clinics to get
treatment and some going to seek treatment when it’s too late.
The most affected areas are low lying areas including Beitbridge, as it is
a transit town, Chiredzi, Chipinge, Mutare, Mutasa, Goromonzi, Centenary,
Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe and Bindura.