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Zimbabwe pilots new malaria prevention programme

by Staff reporter
19 Aug 2022 at 06:46hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE is piloting a non-chemical-based malaria prevention treatment programme in Chiredzi, to help curb the growing resistance to existing malaria vector chemicals.

Ministry of Health and Child Care national vector control officer, Wilson Chauke said the new non-chemical treatment (Afro II project) will not replace the existing control measures, but will add to existing malaria prevention and control mechanisms.

"Zimbabwe is currently using chemical-based vector control interventions and the Afro II project is going to assess the effectiveness of house screening, a non-chemical-based intervention. You know chemicals have an environmental impact which should be avoided at all costs," Chauke said.

"Malaria remains a public health threat in Zimbabwe, with more than half the population at risk of contracting malaria annually. Despite the progress made, malaria still accounts for about 40% of outpatient attendances in the moderate to high transmission districts, especially during the peak transmission period.

"Zimbabwe has adopted several chemical-based vector control measures to reduce malaria. However, there has been growing evidence of resistance to chemical-based malaria vector interventions.

" This has necessitated the call for alternative non-chemical-based innovations for vector control such as house screening," he said.

Recent studies by health workers have shown house screening to significantly reduce the number of mosquitoes entering houses in several African countries.

"However, it remains necessary to quantify the impact that house screening has on malaria prevention and reduction in different countries. Should this project succeed, we look forward to having an additional intervention which is environmentally friendly," Chauke said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Zimbabwe Afro II project co-ordinator Casper Tarumbwa said the non-chemical prevention method was tried in other countries and yielded positive results.

"House screening was successfully tried in the Gambia and Tanzania and found to significantly reduce malaria transmission. It is also beneficial in that it is environmentally friendly and not prone to development of mosquito resistance. Again, it fosters community participation and ownership," Tarumbwa said.

Zimbabwe is among six southern African countries in the WHO Afro region where studies on demonstration of effectiveness of diversified, environmentally sound and sustainable interventions for disease prevention and control are being carried out.

The Afro II project study in Zimbabwe covers wards 27 (Monyoroka Resettlement area) and 28 (Triangle) in Chiredzi district, Masvingo province.

The project involves the screening of houses by installing wire mesh screens on windows, doors, eaves and other openings to prevent the entry of mosquitoes.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe