Nam surpasses MDGs in malaria fight

19 May 2014 17:20pm
WINDHOEK, 19 MAY (NAMPA) - Namibia has surpassed the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for malaria morbidity and mortality, the Deputy Director of Special Programmes in the Ministry of Health and Social Services said on Monday.
The MDGs stipulate that countries should by 2015 decrease malaria incidences by 50 per cent.
“We were above 90 per cent in 2013 in the fight against malaria,” Anne-Marie Nitschke said during a media conference in Windhoek.
She said only 20 people died of malaria-related diseases in the country in 2013 compared to 1 734 deaths recorded in 2004.
Earlier this year, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria granted Namibia N.dollars 1,2 billion.
Nitschke said about 62 000 nets were produced for the pilot mass distribution programme in targeted districts in the Zambezi, Kavango and Omusati Regions, and the programme was successfully completed. Meanwhile, a total of 669 122 (94 per cent) targeted structures in selected areas of the endemic regions have been covered with Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS).
The goal of the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme, which falls under the Health Ministry, is to reduce incidences of malaria to below one case per 1 000 people in every district of Namibia by 2016.
Nitschke attributed the decline in malaria cases in Namibia to behavioural change, more people being aware of mosquito nets, and IRS.
According to a fact sheet contained on the United Nations (UN) website, the global estimated incidence of malaria has decreased by 17 per cent since 2000, and malaria-specific mortality rates by 25 per cent.
In the decade since 2000, 1,1 million deaths from malaria were averted. Countries with improved access to malaria control interventions saw child mortality rates fall by about 20 per cent.
Thanks to funding from donors, more children are sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets in sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, Nitschke indicated that Namibia recorded 21 cases of leprosy in 2013, compared to 42 recorded in 2010.
The disease is more prevalent in the northern parts of the country.