RUMOURS of war may have caused some head-scratching in the Tanzania border town of Kyela, a community that is apparently peaceful at most.
But the political heavy breath elsewhere in the country was not what gave Kyela District Commissioner Hon. Margaret Ester Malenga a sleepless night.Hon Malenga was not sick, but prevalence of the biggest killer in the country considerably gave her no peace.
The fight against malaria in the district, she said, was complicated by one of the district's geography features, which makes it waterlogged in the rainy season. "The region's water table is high," Hon Malenga said.
The Kyela's physical feature leaves it submerged even after a little rainfall, the district's medical officer, Dr Festo Dugange said in support to the DC's comment."This feature leaves the place with stagnant water in many places after a rainfall, providing mosquitoes with many breeding places," Dr Dugange said.
The puddles, added to the generally hot weather of the district, are ideal state for mosquitoes to breed.
Given the consequential increase of mosquitoes, malaria was therefore a big threat in the district, particularly a significant danger to the under-five and pregnant women.
"A pregnant woman attracts mosquitoes more because of a chemical in her body, making her produce an odour attractive to the insects," Dr Dugange explained.However, in the last four years beginning in 2009 the Out Patient Department (OPD) diagnosis of malaria cases in the district, according to Dr Dugange, have decreased by 45 percentage.
By December 2011 the OPD diagnosis dropped by 25 percentage.The positive development in the fight against malaria is a result of community education the district authorities is waging in malaria prevention and treatment.
"The people have been sensitised to seek treatment at the right time," said Dr Dugange.The national campaign of distributing insecticide nets in 2010-2011 to every family has also contributed to the decline of malaria infections "In that period a total of 127,345 nets were distributed to the people," the doctor said.
The authorities have also run Environmental Sanitation programme in the district to sensitise the people on the importance of puddles and all places of stagnant water in their settlements.
"This exercise has significantly reduced mosquito breeding areas, causing a notable drop in malaria infections," said Dr Dugange. Also included in the sanitation programme is clearance of bushes, giving more assurance of reduction of mosquito breeding areas and further malaria decline.
Leaving no options in its fight against malaria, Kyela District has gone further to construct a better drainage system in urban and semi-urban areas, Dr Dugange explained.