GOVERNMENT has raised concerns over the increase in malaria-related illnesses in Manicaland this year, with 66 people reported to have died this year.
Provincial Medical Director Dr Patron Mafaune last week said the province had recorded 77 711 cases of malaria since January.
"Malaria is a serious challenge we are facing in Manicaland and this might hinder development, which we are trying to foster in line with Vision 2030. Since the beginning of the year to date, Manicaland has recorded 77 711 cases of malaria. Of this figure, 66 people have died of the disease," she said.
She said the most affected districts are Nyanga which recorded 28 percent of the total number of cases, followed by Mutasa that recorded 24 percent.
Chipinge had 19 percent of the cases while 14 percent were recorded in Mutare, 7 percent in Chimanimani, 5 percent in Makoni, 2 percent in Buhera and 1 percent in the city of Mutare.
Dr Mafaune said the Ministry of Health and Child Care would soon launch the indoor residual spraying programme in an effort to reduce malaria cases.
"In the near future, we will be going around the province for indoor residual spraying. We appeal to all community leaders to assist us in encouraging people to allow health workers to spray their homes so that we can eradicate malaria and encourage development," she said.
The Cyclone Idai disaster which hit parts of Manicaland and neighbouring Mozambique has also been blamed for the increase in malaria cases this year.
Government, with support from its partners, has been distributing mosquito nets and mosquito repellents to curb the spread of the disease.
The ministry has also engaged its Mozambican counterparts on ways to collaborate in malaria control initiatives.
This comes as there have been an increase in the number of malaria cases in Chimanimani and Chipinge which are suspected to have originated from the neighbouring country.