8 November 2012

South Africa: Gauteng Steps Up Malaria Awareness Campaign

press release

The Gauteng Department of Health has this week joined the world in commemorating Malaria Week by raising awareness and educating communities about this disease.

The activities of this door to door campaign include handing out information and training of community health workers and traditional healers on the disease.

This year, the focus is in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni because the highest number of malaria cases in Gauteng are diagnosed in the township and treated at Tembisa Hospital.

In addition to malaria education, health promoters are conducting health screenings such as blood pressure, diabetes, HIV counselling and testing as well as tuberculosis (TB).

Malaria is a disease that is transmitted by the bites of certain types of mosquitoes. The symptoms include fever, headache, flu-like symptoms, body aches and pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. People at risk include immuno-compromised people, children under 5, the elderly and pregnant women.

To prevent malaria, people are urged to avoid travelling to Malaria endemic areas, especially if one is at risk, take anti-malarial medication before one travels to these areas, avoid mosquito bites by: staying indoors at night, wearing long-sleeve shirts and trousers or using mosquito repellents that can be applied to exposed skin area, burn mosquito repellant candles and coils, spray insecticides, and use nets around the bed.

Gauteng is not a Malaria endemic area but because of the travelling during this time, people are urged to seek medical attention where signs and symptoms of malaria are suspected especially if the person has travelled to Malaria endemic areas.

To mark the end of this week long campaign, health workers will tomorrow, Friday, 09 November be at different areas in Ekurhuleni educating people about malaria as well as offering HIV testing and counselling and testing for chronic illnesses. These activities will be conducted in Oak Moor Taxi Rank and Swazi Inn.

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