12 September 2018

Namibia: 24 000 Positive for Malaria in Kavango Regions

ABOUT 132 304 people were tested for malaria at health facilities in the Kavango East and Kavango West regions, of whom 24 406 (18%) were positive since January.

These figures were revealed on Monday during an interview with regional health director of the Kavango East region Timea Ngwira, who said since January, about 32 people have died of malaria in both regions.

"Malaria is endemic in the two Kavango regions, meaning that it is present throughout the year. However, there is a marked increase of positive cases during the rainy seasons," she observed.

Ngwira said that there are four health districts in the two Kavango regions, namely Andara, which has a population of 30 925 and tested 18 630 cases, of which 3 191 were positive, while Nankudu with a population of 49 956 tested 42 707, of whom 9 583 were positive.

The district of Nyangana has a population of 40 441, of whom 13 297 were tested for malaria and 2 332 were positive, while Rundu with a population 118 944 tested 57 670 people, of which 9 300 cases were positive.

"As you can see, the most affected district is Nankudu with 19% new positive cases out of its population. The current regional trend is floating just below the third quartile (threshold), and this is the golden opportunity to implement the control activities," she explained. As a control measure, they are training people who will carry out the indoor residual spraying, and 145 people have been trained already, while 180 are undergoing training.

"The health personnel face many challenges during the indoor residual spraying (IRS), such as a refusal by residents to have their homes sprayed, locked or unsprayable structures like zinc shacks, and open huts used as sleeping areas, and people sleeping in the open during the hot summer," she noted.

Ngwira sternly cautioned all people that malaria is fatal, and urged them to cooperate with the health personnel.

"When they are outside at night, they should also cover themselves and clear their surroundings to limit breeding sites for mosquitoes," she advised.

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