Cyclone Idai Pushes Up Malaria Cases and Deaths

MALARIA cases and deaths rose by 11 percent and 18, 5 percent respectively from the beginning of the year on the back of flooding caused by Cyclone Idai, a Health and Child Care Ministry official said on Thursday.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

Speaking on behalf of Health Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo, the ministry’s Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Gibson Sibanda told journalists that change in weather patterns hamper the efforts made in eliminating malaria in Zimbabwe.

“However despite these achievements there were some challenges. This year’s weather changes which alternated between long dry periods and wet periods created conducive breeding environments for mosquitoes thereby threatening to reverse gains made,” he said. He said the Cyclone Idai left people in affected areas vulnerable to the disease.

“This was further worsened by the torrential rainfall from 15 to 17 March 2019 caused by Cyclone Idai which caused flooding, destruction of homes and subsequent displacement of the affected populations into temporary shelters which left people at the risk of malaria,” he said.

This statistically saw an increase in malaria cases this year.

“This has seen cumulative malaria cases from week 1 to 17 increase by 11 percent from 123 874 in 2018 to 137 842 cases in 2019 and deaths increase by 18, 5 percent from 97 to 115 in the same period,” he said.

The Health Minister also noted that fuel shortages impacted negatively on the spraying programme as some areas targeted for spraying could not be sprayed.

On a positive note, comparing 2017 cases and 2018 cases have declined from 468 841 to 264 278 with deaths reduced from 513 to 19.
“This shows a 44 percent morbidity and 63 percent mortality reduction between the two years,” Dr Mhlanga said.

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