Ngami District Health Team (DHMT) has recorded at least one death due to Malaria this year as cases of the disease continue to steadily rise within the district.
Speaking on behalf of Maun sub council during the commemoration of Malaria day in Maun recently, Boyei ward councillor Ntlogelang Kebonyekgotla, said this year alone 58 cases of Malaria have been recorded even though the mosquito season is not yet over.
“In this current year we are at 58 cases and one death but we are still in the Malaria transmission season which lasts from October to May and this means we may still record more cases,” Kebonyekgotla explained.
His further concern was that, Malaria cases have been disturbingly going up for the past two years with eight cases recorded in 2019, twenty-seven in 2020 and ninety-seven in 2021.
This is despite the public health efforts which have reduced the spread of Malaria by almost half over the last two decades.
Kebonyekgotla added that some of the difficulties of eliminating the disease is continued resistance by some people who do not want their homes to be sprayed during Malaria season.
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Statistics indicate that the spraying rate is going down with 77 percent (%) of houses having been sprayed in 2019, 72% covered in 2020 and just 57% sprayed in 2021.
“Spraying of house to house indoor insecticide residual spray (IRS) is done every year from October to December but sometimes some families do not allow the sprayers to enter their houses to do the job. This is worrisome,” Kebonyekgotla further expressed the council’s concern.
Malaria day is observed annually on 26th April to bring global attention to efforts being made to bring an end to Malaria and within SADC, is it celebrated annually on 6th November and last week’s commemoration was a build up towards the November commemoration.
In Botswana just like in many other countries, Malaria remains one of the diseases of public health concern.
The country had wanted to have eliminated Malaria by the year 2020 but for the past two decades, it has reduced the disease by almost half, according to DHMT records.
Dirty environment, including long grass, empty containers that can hold water such as cans, bottles, tyres, uncovered drums among others can promote mosquitoes to hide in and lay eggs and therefore communities were encouraged to keep their surroundings clean especially during Malaria prone season.
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Further they were encouraged to avoid staying outdoors after sunset, and advised to close their windows early to stop mosquitoes from getting into the houses they sleep in as Malaria carrying mosquitoes are said to be more active at night.
North West district where Okavango delta is located is prone to mosquitoes as it generally has surface water, tall grass and lots of mosquitoes and Boyei chief, Kgosi Moeti Moeti called on the community to learn to protect themselves from mosquito bites and always seek medical help at the earliest sign of Malaria to avoid complications.
Malaria signs according to the health team include flu like symptoms, nausea and headache.
Many villages in Ngamiland are given treated mosquito nets which are used to repel or kill mosquitoes but the concern is that some use them for trapping fish instead.