By Vumani Mthiyane
Malaria cases have risen to 716 in Matabeleland South, a senior health official in the province has confirmed.
The cases are concentrated in Gwanda and Beitbridge districts.
So far malaria has claimed seven lives in the two districts with Gwanda district recording 84 new cases while Beitbridge recorded an alarming 632 cases.
In an interview with CITE, Matabeleland South provincial medical director, Dr Rudo Chikodzere said her ministry is doing its level best to curb the spread of malaria despite insufficient resources.
“Matabeleland South Province particularly Beitbridge district and Gwanda districts is experiencing an outbreak of malaria. As of week 15, 84 new cases of malaria have been reported in Gwanda, 632 cases in Beitbridge. 7 malaria-related deaths have been reported to date in the year 2020,” said Dr Chikodzere.
“MOHCC is actively searching for cases of malaria and treating all those identified. We are doing more investigations into why we are seeing more cases i.e drivers of transmission and preliminary findings are that there is a lot of outdoor activities such as cattle herding at cattle posts, gold panning, Mopane worm harvesting and manning fields at night. This exposes people to infection as there are a lot of mosquito breeding sites that developed after the rains received in February.”
As of Wednesday, Gungwe village in ward 12 under Chief Ketso Mathe area recorded a malaria-related death taking the death toll to four in Gwanda district.
In terms of figures in Gwanda South, Manama has so far recorded six cases, Nhwali (11), Sengezane (5), West Nicholson (4), Selonga (5), Kafusi (5), Gungwe (5), Ntalale (3), Collen Bawn (1) and Buvuma 11 cases.
Dr Chikodzere added that they have dispatched teams said their teams are already on the ground.
“More treated mosquito nets are being mobilised for distribution to those who were missed in the mass distributions done last year. We are mapping mosquito breeding sites so that we treat them with chemicals.
“For those breeding sites that are manageable, we are encouraging the communities to drain. Communities are encouraged to also use personal protection such as mosquito repellant,” explained PMD.
Moreover, the Gwanda community has formed a Malaria task force that is specifically focusing on mobilising resources to fight the spread of the disease.