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Health officials panic over Hwange surge in Malaria cases

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By Matabeleland North Correspondent


HEALTH officials in Hwange have activated surveillance systems after the district has recorded a worrying surge in malaria cases this April.

About 12 clinics in the Matabeleland North district recorded above alert threshold cases of malaria in the first two weeks of April, surpassing the total number of about 80 cases recorded in March.

This was revealed by health officials.

At least 131 people had died of malaria as of last week.

The country recorded 135 585 cases in the first quarter, according to the Ministry of Health.

Hwange District Medical Officer Dr Fungayi Musinami said 12 clinics had recorded above alert threshold cases of malaria prompting the district to go out in full force to monitor the situation.

“We are seeing a gradual increase of malaria cases in some of our clinics that have gone above the alert threshold for malaria. Twelve clinics have exceeded alert threshold; so our teams have gone there to investigate,” Musinami said.

A health alert threshold refers to the number of cases reported for a particular disease per week or per day at a given area.

She said considerations were being made to repeat indoor and outdoor residual spraying which is usually done between November and January countrywide.

“What we have done is to send out teams to investigate and we are starting to implement interventions for malaria control.

“We are planning with some of our partners that we may need to repeat indoor spraying, scale up testing and treatment for malaria as well as giving education to the communities on the disease,” Musinami said.

She was speaking to journalists in Victoria Falls during a visit to a Covid-19 quarantine centre at Mosi-oa-Tunya school and isolation centres in Mkhosana.

Musinami said the new malaria cases she could not readily give updated figures on, were a wake-up call that while the country was busy fighting Covid-19, it should not be blinkered to a point of forgetting other disease outbreaks.

“We need to keep looking at some of these things that are affecting our people,” she said.

In March, Hwange district recorded more than 80 cases of malaria.

Hwange and Binga are the two remaining districts in Matabeleland North with a high prevalence of malaria.

Countrywide, Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East top the list while Beitbridge and Gwanda are the hotspots in Matabeleland South.