ABOUT 177 volunteers in the Zambezi region have started a two-week training course for indoor residual spraying that will help control and eliminate mosquitoes which transmit malaria.
The indoor residual spraying (IRS) programme is an annual initiative of the health ministry. It is expected to last three months.
There are 10 clusters in the region where malaria outbreaks have been common. These are Lisikili, Mubeza, Bukalo, Ngoma, Schuckmansburg, Chinchimani, Sangwali, Sheseke, Sibbinda and Cheto.
Zambezi regional health director Agnes Mwillima, who spoke at the official opening of the training course, urged the volunteers to take the training seriously, and to work hard.
"Volunteers should note that they play a very important role in the success of this indoor residual spraying campaign, so they should take ownership of the malaria elimination battle and work harder.
"As we are all aware, Namibia almost won the fight against malaria, but the numbers have increased drastically over the past two years," she stated.
Mwillima further urged the volunteers to treat community members with respect, and to explain to them the importance of the indoor residual spraying.
"When you go out in the field to do the indoor residual spraying, you should respect community members at all times, and ensure that you ask for permission instead of thinking you can just enter people's houses.
"You should explain to them the benefits of such an activity," she stressed, adding that in the past, miscommunication had posed a challenge, and people refused to allow the teams to spray their homes.
Katima Mulilo council chief executive officer Raphael Liswaniso, who also spoke at the event, urged the volunteers not to do this for the money, but to save people's lives.
"You should bear in mind that the fight against malaria is bigger than the money you will get at the end of the month.
"Therefore, I urge you not to make this a money-making scheme by leaving people to die, just for you to be called back next year, instead of doing a proper job now to save lives.
"I wish that you also take ownership and inform people about the importance of this indoor residual spraying, and the consequences of malaria," he stressed.