ZIMBABWE has made giant strides in the eradication of malaria in most districts except for areas along the borders, a senior health official has said.
The focal person for Malaria Case Management in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Stanford Mashaire, attributed the eradication of malaria to prevention and treatment interventions.
Dr Mashaire revealed this at a media briefing on the Global Fund to Fight HIV and Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria Programmes in Harare yesterday.
Districts that have eliminated malaria are Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands and some parts of Mashonaland East.
Tsholotsho, Bulilima Mangwe, Matobo, Gwanda, Mberengwa, Gweru, Gutu, Gokwe, Nkayi and Seke used to experience sporadic and low seasonal incidences of malaria.
Dr Mashaire said the trends mean malaria in Zimbabwe is now concentrated along border areas.
He said districts such as Victoria Falls, Hwange, Beitbridge, Makonde, Binga and Guruve, among others, were recording low incidences of malaria and were also geared towards elimination of the disease.
Dr Mashaire, however, said there was still a large concentration of malaria cases in districts along the Mozambique border, which include Mudzi, Mutoko, Mutasa, Chipinge, Mutare and Chirundu.
"Disease burden is still more pronounced along the borders of which the bordering province with Mozambique is most affected because of the mountainous terrain with many rivers," said Dr Mashaire.
He said the border with Botswana is a low-rainfall area and Botswana is in pre-elimination phase, hence elimination of malaria in Matabeleland South Province.
Dr Mashaire said South Africa is also in the pre-elimination stage hence sporadic cases of malaria in districts such as Beitbridge.
Zambia, he said, was still in control phase and a number of cases were still being recorded in districts along the borders such as Binga and Kariba.
"We are now planning to conduct a pre-elimination baseline study in Matabeleland South Province and conduct capacity assessment to carry out pre-elimination activities," Dr Mashaire said.
According to global targets, Zimbabwe's goal is to reduce malaria incidence from 95 per 1 000 in 2007 to 20 per 1 000 by 2013 and malaria deaths by at least 50 percent of 2006 levels by 2013.
Dr Mashaire said malaria incidence in Zimbabwe is 25 per 1 000, down from 155 per 1 000 in 2003.
He said about 90 percent of the population at risk of contracting malaria is protected by Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and 83 percent uses Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLINs).
"Community-based health workers (CBHWs) are now allowed to diagnose malaria using rapid diagnostic test (RDTs ) and can now carry RDTs and serve communities in their localities," said Dr Mashaire.
The Global Fund recently approved Zimbabwe's application of US$34 million for malaria programmes, which are expected to run over the next three years.
The country will be receiving combined grants from phase two Round 8 and phase one round 10 following consolidation of the two rounds.