Botswana: Help Eliminate Malaria - Health Spokesperson

Gaborone — Ministry of Health and Wellness chief public relations officer, Mr Christopher Nyanga has encouraged Batswana to help eliminate malaria in the country.

In an interview on Monday, Mr Nyanga said the ministry still emphasises the importance of communities to allow their houses to be sprayed with a malaria mosquito-killing chemical during indoor residual spraying campaigns.

He further stated that communities were encouraged to use bed nets properly as guided by health officials.

Mr Nyanga also called on people to use personal protection that included wearing clothes that covered arms and legs, especially in the evenings to prevent mosquito bites.

Further, he called on individuals to clear their yards of possible mosquito breeding items such as tyres, cans, buckets of water, stagnant water and tall grasses.

Mr Nyanga indicated that there was an increase in malaria cases during the 2019/2020 malaria season due to challenges attributed to prioritisation of overall public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"However, this does not in any way imply that the increase in malaria cases was due to COVID-19; rather it was attributed to shifting priorities of the health response to combating the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

He noted that COVID-19 had taken centre stage in all sectors of life, including healthcare services, adding that the response to the pandemic stretched the limited public health resources, including the human resource, time, finances, infrastructure and vehicles.

Mr Nyanga nevertheless stated that the ministry had not ceased to provide malaria services to communities as key preventive interventions continued to be delivered to priority communities.

He pointed out that indoor residual spraying in some areas in the seven districts of Chobe, Ngami, Okavango, Bobirwa, Boteti, Tutume and Palapye, had been done, while long-lasting insecticidal nets were also distributed between February and March in Palapye and Bobirwa areas.

He also mentioned that testing and effective treatment for malaria was available at no cost throughout all public and private facilities in the country.

Mr Nyanga further stated that malaria activities had been integrated with COVID-19 response, as districts had been conducting joint community health education on malaria and COVID-19 as the two conditions shared most symptoms.

He encouraged individuals who did not feel well, to visit clinics early for testing and treatment.

<i>Source : BOPA</i>

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