Maputo — From January to August, 442 people in Mozambique are known to have died from malaria, according to Health Minister Armindo Tiago.
Speaking in the beach resort of Bilene, in the southern province of Gaza, at the launch of a National Home Spraying Campaign, Tiago said the malaria death toll, in the first eight months of the year, was significantly lower than that recorded in the same period in 2019, when 562 people died of the disease.
But although fewer people are dying of malaria, the number of malaria cases has actually increased - from 7.86 million cases in January-August 2019 to 8.36 million in the same months this year. The number of cases rose by 6.4 per cent, but the number of deaths fell by 21.4 per cent.
Tiago attributed the reduced death toll to government measures, including the anti-mosquito spraying campaigns, the free distribution of insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets, and the drive to persuade families to change their behaviour.
"In numerical terms malaria is, without doubt, one of the main public health problems in our country, with an impact on families and on the economy", said the Minister. "The struggle against malaria can only be won with the action of each one of us".
The rise in the number of cases was a matter of great concern "and that's why we are undertaking a campaign of house spraying as a measure to control the mosquitoes that spread malaria", he added.
The campaign is intended to reach over six million people in five provinces, and will cost four million US dollars.
Tiago said that 31 districts will be targeted. Eight of them are in Nampula and five are in Zambezia - these are the two provinces that account for over half of all malaria cases. Five districts in Inhambane, five in Gaza and eight in Maputo province will also be covered.