Zambia Commemorates World Malaria Day
LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA The Government of Zambia in collaboration with various stakeholders that included E8, WHO, Roll Back Malaria, Gates Foundation, MACEPA/ PATH and Akros gathered today in Kabuyu, Kazungula District to commemorate this year’s World Malaria Day under the theme “Invest in the future, eliminate malaria”.
“Kazungula District has recorded a decline in the incidence of malaria since 2005 from 150 per 1,000 to 4 per 1,000 in 2011,” said Dr. Phallon Mwaba, Kazungula District Medical Officer. “However, the incidence rose to 34 per 1,000 in 2014 due to the introduction of Active Surveillance programme in 2012 which collected data in the community and included it in our Health Management Information System (HMIS),” said Dr. Mwaba in his speech. “The above is a positive result to us as the 34 per 1,000 recorded in 2014 includes all cases in Kazungula District,” he added.
“We are having challenges in eliminating malaria in the area because of the imported cases we record from other districts,” said Lubinda Mushala, Kazungula District Malaria Focal Point Person. “In fact, the majority of the cases recorded are imported from other districts,” Mushala said.
The event included a showcase of malaria elimination interventions such as diagnosis of malaria by Rapid Diagnosis Tests (RDTs) and a tour of households that benefited from Indoor Residue Spraying and Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets. The event was colored by entertainment through songs, dances, poems and displays by the majorettes.
Willing individuals from the community were tested for malaria and results given instantly. Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials were also given out and the community members were sensitized more on the disease. By noon, over 30 people had tested for malaria and no positive case was recorded. “I have been experiencing some backaches and weakness in my body so I decided to be tested for malaria today,” said 54 year old Alice Mwasichaje, whose result was negative.
“From 2009, we have not recorded a complicated case of malaria that needed to be referred to the hospital,” said Alex Musweu, Kabuyu Rural Health Center nurse in charge. “Our workload at the clinic has since reduced with the introduction of Active Surveillance in 2012 which is conducted by community health workers,” he added.
“Step D, also known as Community Malaria Surveillance, has impacted positively on the health situation in our rural areas, community health workers (volunteers) are people selected by the locals to be trained to test, treat and track malaria cases within the community,” said Tokozile Ngwenya-Kangombe, Akros Surveillance Officer for the area. “The program has passed on skills to local people, enabling them to test and treat malaria cases within the community, reducing the burden of cases that is attended to by under-staffed rural health facilities. Community member’s no longer need to walk large distances to receive treatment for malaria,” said Kangombe.
World Malaria Day is celebrated each year on April 25, commemorating the work that has gone into fighting the disease and raising awareness. The celebrations ended on April 25 with a march in Livingstone and a series of speeches from government, World Health Organization and other partners.
About Maswabi Precious Matantilo
Precious Matantilo is an Advocacy and Communications Officer for Akros and is a Global Health Corps fellow for 2014/2015. Before joining Akros, Precious worked for the Commonwealth Youth Programme as programmes assistant. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies from the Zambian Open University.