26 April 2012

Namibia: Country Reduces Malaria Cases By 97 Percent

THE number of malaria cases in Namibia has been reduced by 97% between 2001 and 2011.

This was said by Health Minister Richard Kamwi when he addressed a World Malaria Day event in Oshakati yesterday.

Also present was World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Margaret Chan and the director of the Global Malaria Programme, Dr Robert Newman.

Kamwi said the number of deaths due to malaria had been reduced by 98% over the same period.

He said Namibia started fighting malaria in the 1960s, but it was not until independence when the efforts were more focused.

The health authorities used indoor spraying with DDT, spraying of pools hosting anopheles mosquito larvae, and personal protection methods such as pesticide-impregnated bed nets and traditional herbs as mosquito deterrents.

Kamwi said in 1990, about 400 000 malaria cases were reported with 5 000 deaths, while in 2001 624 384 cases with 1 681 deaths were reported.

Last year 15 906 malaria cases with 10 deaths were reported.

Kamwi said the WHO assisted Namibia with a resident technical person who is an expert in the prevention of malaria while it also helped the country with training.

He said malaria, like any other communicable disease, has no respect for international borders and added that areas need maximum support for the total eradication of the disease.

Chan said the WHO was impressed with Namibia's malaria campaign.

"I can declare today that Namibia is a star in fighting malaria and you have to keep it up. Don't go and rest now, but go out and chase all the mosquitoes out, whereever you find them," she said.

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