Malaria claims 39 lives

Source: Malaria claims 39 lives –Newsday Zimbabwe

LATEST reports from Health and Child Care ministry have shown that malaria has claimed 39 lives in the country, while 17 623 are suffering from the disease.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease caused by plasmodium parasites, and is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes.

In Zimbabwe, the disease remains a major challenge. The Ministry of Health’s weekly disease surveillance report shows that two more people died from malaria this week and 2 617 new cases were recorded.

“The cumulative figures for malaria are 17 623 and 39 deaths. 2 617 malaria cases and two deaths were reported during the week under review. The deaths were reported from Mutoko District (1) Mashonaland East province and Guruve district (1) Mashonaland Central province,” the statement read.

Manicaland and Mashonaland Central provinces recorded the highest number of malaria cases.

Health and Child Care ministry secretary Jasper Chimedza asked for questions in writing but had not responded to them by the time of going to print.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association  president Johannes Marisa said: “I think the main problem is misdiagnosis or there is late diagnosis which has resulted in malaria getting complicated to cure.  The best way to avoid the unnecessary deaths is to do early diagnosis. Medical staff should be trained on how to diagnose malaria and patients should be educated on this malaria disease.”

Marisa said the problem was delays by people to seek treatment.

“When people visit malaria areas, they should take precautions to ensure that they are safe from that disease,” Marisa said.

Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said the country was still far from achieving the global malaria strategy’s goal of a 90% reduction in cases.

 “In communities where malaria is endemic, we see challenges such as limited access to quality and affordable medication, lack of bed nets for some populations, limited resources of civil society organisations to reach the mostvulnerable populations and limited diagnosis of cases. There is a growing problem of antimalarial and vector resistance which needs to be addressed,” Rusike said.

He said government must increase the health budget in order to combat preventable diseases such as malaria.