The Limpopo Department of Health says that they are doing everything they can to curb the upsurge of malaria. There has been an increase in the province between 2017 to date. The Department say they have deployed 42 teams across the province to help them reduce the malaria upsurge and have allocated R96.7 million to prevent and control malaria in the affected arrears of the province.
Although there has been a gradual decline in the transmissions of malaria since 2005, the department had noted that there was an increase last year with 17 765 cases reported from January to December last year.
There are 5 483 malaria cases in Limpopo this year. This is down from 6 079 cases stated over the equivalent period. The department has assured that spraying with long-residual insecticides is helping the fight against malaria.
“The increase in rainfall has unfortunately resulted in malaria upsurge in 2017. The unusual climatic conditions, traveller’s mosquitos have resulted in the upsurge,” said MEC Phophi Ramathuba.
Ramathuba said that even areas which historically were never malaria-endemic, such as Sekhukhune and Waterberg, found themselves having to deal with malaria cases.
“This unusual case necessitated for an additional R11, 8 million in the 2017/208 period to procure chemicals, treatment, malaria tests and to employ 342 seasonal spray workers.”
Ramathuba added that the indoor residual spraying target was increased from 521 142 to 791 029 structures to be sprayed in the 2017/2018 period.
“This target was surpassed with 964 138 structures sprayed during the last financial year,” she added.
The department further stated that the facilities in the province were prepared to deal with, and treat all malaria cases.
Prof Lucille Blumberg, an infectious diseases specialist at the Institute for Communicable Dieses (NICD) shared the same sentiments as the department.
“The drought of recent year had reduced the number of outbreaks as mosquitoes. By contrast, the recent high rainfall, humidity and heat had created the optimal environment for parasite development and the total number of malaria cases in Limpopo had increased,” Blumberg said.
According to Blumberg, government had cut back on anti-malaria spraying programmes as there had been fewer cases of the disease during the years of drought. Spraying had nonetheless been on-going.
Ramathuba called on communities to help with the fight against malaria by not preventing departmental officials from accessing their properties to spray and destroy the mosquito and larvae.