29 January 2013

South Africa: SA's Malaria Plan Lauded

Pretoria — South Africa plans to eliminate the spread of malaria within its borders by the year 2018, President Jacob Zuma said.

He was speaking at an African Union event in which South Africa was granted an award for dealing with the spread of malaria in the country.

Zuma confirmed South Africa would continue to use Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane (DDT) insecticide to control Malaria.

In 1996, South Africa decided not to use DDT in its malaria Vector Control Programme following pressure from environmental groups for it not to be used.

Zuma said this resulted in huge increases of malaria cases in the country. Malaria increased from a baseline of approximately 10 000 cases in 1995 to 64 622 in the year 2000.

"The cause of this increase was mainly due to the particular species that transmitted malaria, which was once eradicated with DDT, had reappeared and was resistant to other types of insecticides."

The Department of Health decided to return to the use of DDT in 2000.

Subsequently malaria cases decreased to 26 506 in 2001, with progressive decreases in subsequent years to 9 866 cases in 2001.

In 2006, the World Health Organisation (WHO) did an about-turn on the use of DDT to fight malaria, citing South Africa's successful anti-malaria programme as evidence that controlled indoor spraying of the insecticide was not only safe, but "one of the best tools we have" against the killer disease.

Other recipients of the award were Cape Verde, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia.

Zuma said South Africa and other SADC countries had initiated a process to eliminate malaria, in keeping with the call from the African Union in its 2007 malaria declaration.

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