Health-e (Cape Town)

7 February 2013

South Africa: Fear Over Malaria Increase in Vhembe

Vhembe — The district municipality in this northern region of Limpopo recently raised concern about the high incidence of malaria in the area.

“The heavy rains the region has experienced since the beginning of the year will surely have a negative impact on the health of our people, especially in Mutale and Musina local municipality," said Matodzi Ralushai, a spokesperson for the municipality.

Although no deaths have been reported so far, Ralushai said that there are high numbers of malaria patients being admitted to hospitals in the district since the rain started.

"Another challenge is that some of the families are now roofless because their houses collapsed during the floods. Some of the families are staying with their relatives, but some are staying in tents that we provided for them. However, tents don’t offer a lot of protection against mosquitoes, and this makes them vulnerable to malaria," said Ralushai.

His other concern is that most of the high-risk malaria areas, such as Ha-Mutele in Mutale, and Pondrift farm outside Musina, are cut off from other areas because bridges washed away during the floods.

“Without bridges it is difficult for our ambulance to collect patients from their homes and take them to clinics.

"Our main worry is that the rain is still pouring which makes it difficult to address the situation. But we are promising our people that we will continue doing our best with the help from NGO's like Red Cross and others," said Ralushai.

 - An OurHealth Citizen Journalist reporting from the Thohoyandou district in Limpopo (Vhembe).

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