THERE has been a reduction in malaria cases in the Zambezi region, as only 243 cases were reported so far this year, compared to 3 345 case recorded last year.
This is according to statistics from the ministry of health's regional office in the Zambezi region.
Zambezi regional governor Lawrence Sampofu revealed this yesterday at Katima Mulilo, when he officiated at a two-week training course on indoor residual spraying in the region.
The programme is aimed at controlling and eliminating mosquitoes which transmit malaria.
The spraying programme is an annual initiative by the ministry of health, and is expected to last three months. A total of 156 volunteers are currently undergoing training in this regard.
Sampofu said Namibia is one of the countries tasked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eliminate malaria by 2022, and the indoor residual spraying programme is one of the many national anti-malaria strategies.
"The health ministry has started using a new chemical called Actelic 300 CS in addition to DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) this year. This chemical is equally effective, as it is tested and approved for use by the WHO.
"Communities are, therefore, informed, and must be prepared for this change. I am informed that this year, the health workers have been tasked to ensure that all structures in areas under their care are sprayed. Therefore, we expect 100% coverage for 2019," he added. Sampofu further noted that 11 malaria hot spots have been identified in the region, based on surveillance reports. They are Chetto, Shesheke, Sibbinda, Chinchimani, Sangwali, Masokotwani, Kasheshe, Bukalo, Ngoma, Shuckmansburg and Lisikili.
"The health ministry will also spray the mosquito breeding sites. Therefore, community members are advised to provide information to staff about any breeding sites in their areas so that they spray and kill the larvae before they become adult mosquitoes," he said.
Sampofu thus called on the health workers who will be spraying people's homes to take up this responsibility diligently as people's lives depend on it. Anyone whose house is not sprayed for mosquitoes is vulnerable to malaria. Zambezi regional health director Agnes Mwilima noted at the same event that the region reported 84% coverage for indoor residual spraying last year. However, there were other challenges, such as 9% of the people refusing access to their houses to be sprayed, while 22% of houses were locked as the occupants were not available at the time of the visits. Mwilima added that as they are planning to increase coverage this year, they have invited health officials from Zambia's Mwandi and Shesheke districts to strengthen the indoor residual training by sharing experiences.
After their training, the volunteers will be deployed in the field for the next three months.