Mashonaland East Province has intensified malaria control, with Mutoko District rolling out a targeted respraying programme for hotspots as it aims to reverse the upward trend of deaths and new cases.
The programme, which is expected to start anytime soon once food for the volunteer spraying team is arranged is earmarking 19 wards around areas such as Nyamuzuwe, Kapondoro and Katsukunya among others.
This latest development followed revelations that malaria cases have almost tripled in the district this year compared to the previous two years.
Statistics availed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care showed that cases have gone up to 14 809 between January and April this year compared to 5 817 and 4 756 during the same period in 2019 and in 2018 respectively.
Last week alone, the district recorded 12 deaths.
"This is a cause of concern for us and apart from the respraying programme, our environmentalists have since commenced investigations on the cause of this upward trend in the district," said Mutoko district acting medical officer Dr Prince Mangwiro.
He said community deaths were also a cause for concern adding that the worst affected were religious organisations whose doctrine do not allow them to seek medical health services.
He said other villagers present themselves late to health facilities also contributing to high mortality.
Acting district environmental health officer, Mr Chapata Madakudya said investigations carried out on the effectiveness of the chemical normally sprayed indoors had come out positive.
"While we are already seized with these investigations, we also noted the rainfall pattern for this year was sporadic creating a conducive environment for mosquito breeding.
"This also means this year, there were a lot of mosquitoes compared to previous years resulting in increased cases of malaria," said Mr Madakudya.
The district has so far attended to 28 869 cases of malaria since the beginning of the year compared to 35 943 and 20 956 in 2019 and 2018 respectively.
Mudzi district medical officer Dr Sam Mutapure said 19 out of 21 facilities in the district were in an outbreak.
He said they were also investigating for Covid-19 in some of the cases.