Malaria kills 364 people
ZIMBABWE witnessed a surge in malaria cases this year, which has seen at least 364 people succumbing to the disease — at a time that the country has also been battling with Covid-19, the Daily News reports.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 361 000 people were this year infected by the disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Most of the affected people were mainly in Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland South.
“Every two minutes a child dies of malaria in the world. This year Zimbabwe has recorded 361 529 malaria cases and 364 deaths.
“The cases recorded this year were from an outbreak peak which lasted from March to April 2020.
“In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, we were able to reach out to affected communities and give the appropriate response to contain the outbreak,” WHO national officer for malaria control programmes, Jasper Pasipamire, told the Daily News at the weekend.
This came as Zimbabwe observed World Mosquito Day, which falls on August 20 every year in commemoration of British doctor Ronald Ross’s discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes (Anopheles) transmit malaria among humans.
“We were able to capacitate local health workers to quickly respond to situations and to learn the difference between malaria cases and potential Covid-19 cases as the symptoms can be similar and patients with malaria thus risk being turned away for being potential Covid-19 cases,” Pasipamire said.
The early symptoms of malaria resemble those of the novel coronavirus — including fever, chills, sweats, headache, vomiting and body aches.
Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, malaria can rapidly progress to severe illness and death.
Early this year, Zimbabwe witnessed a surge in malaria cases, with the WHO warning that there was a risk of the country paying less attention to diseases such as malaria while fighting Covid-19.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, the malaria community must remain committed to supporting the prevention of malaria infection, illness and death through preventive and case management services, while maintaining a safe environment for patients, clients and staff.
“Deaths due to malaria and its comorbidities, anaemia, under nutrition, must continue to be prevented,” WHO said.