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Malaria outbreak hits Mashonaland West

by Staff reporter
16 Apr 2020 at 07:13hrs | Views
There has been an outbreak of malaria across the northern half of Mashonaland West, with one clinic in Kariba district recording more than 15 confirmed cases on a single day.

The outbreak has been reported at clinics in Hurungwe, Kariba and Makonde districts.

At least 11 clinics in Kariba district have reported cases as rainfall patterns over the season now ending create conditions for breeding of the mosquitoes that carry the parasite in stagnant pools.

In Kariba district, the most affected areas include Msampakaruma, Kanyati, Gatche Gatche and Nyamhunga township in Kariba town. Kasvisva clinic recorded more than 15 cases in one day last week.

Mashonaland West provincial medical director, Dr Wenceslaus Nyamayaro confirmed the outbreak, which besides the typical dangers patients will become more vulnerable if exposed to Covid-19. Kariba district medical officer, Dr Godfrey Muza said human behaviour such as fishing and living in temporary shelter exposed people to being bitten by mosquitoes.

"Altered rainfall pattern have resulted in the formation of some pools of stagnant water near residential areas, which are now mosquito breeding sites. We have noted that occupational activities including night time fishing and staying in temporary shelters in their fields, which are not sprayed during our annual indoor residual spraying program exposes them to malaria," said Dr Muza.

People in areas such as Mola and Negande migrate to their fields during the cropping season leaving their homes, which would have been sprayed for the year. With fishing being one of the major industries in Kariba district, most men in fishing camps venture into Lake Kariba during the night exposing themselves to mosquito bites.

Nyamhunga township in Kariba was not sprayed but nets treated with long lasting insecticide were distributed to every household.

Dr Muza said resources had been mobilised to intensify community case management of malaria by village and community health workers.

Most cases can be treated at community and village level, so clinics are not overwhelmed. Environmental health officers have been dispatched to scout for potential breeding sites through vector identification and mapping, larvae source control and resistance monitoring. Sensitisation campaigns have also intensified.

Source - the herald