Maputo — The Mozambican health authorities say they have improved the effectiveness of treatments against malaria, leading to a sharp drop in the number of deaths from the disease, despite an increase in the number of malaria cases.
The statistics from the Ministry of Health show that the number of malaria deaths fell from 2,467 in 2015, to 1,685 in 2016, and to 1,114 in 2017.
Speaking in Maputo on Wednesday, on the occasion of World Malaria Day, Health Minister Nazira Abdula, explained that the fall in the number of deaths was due to speedy medical intervention in the health units, better diagnosis and greater effectiveness of the anti-malaria treatments.
The number of malaria cases, however, had risen steadily, from 6,418,526 in 2015, to 8,520,376 in 2016, to 9,981,277 in 2017. Thus between 2016 and 2017 the number of diagnosed malaria cases rose by 17 per cent, while the number of deaths fell by 34 per cent.
The rise in malaria cases is a matter of great concern to the Mozambican government, said Abdula, and had a serious negative impact on economic and social development.
Her ministry, she said, is banking on rapid diagnostic tests and artimisinin combination therapy. The tests and the medicines are now available down to community level, said the Minister, allowing village health workers to diagnose and treat simple malaria cases, thus reducing the number of serious cases, mortality and the consequences caused by this disease.
United States ambassador Dean Pittman told the ceremony that this year the US government will support Mozambique in the acquisition and distribution of over 1.6 million mosquito nets.
We need to educate the people and ensure that families have mosquito nets and all the information necessary to protect the lives of each family, he said.