Desperation for jobs hampering malaria prevention in Zambezi

15 Sep 2016 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 15 SEP (NAMPA) - Parents who are bitter about their children not being employed by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) indoor residual spraying (IRS) programme are posing a challenge to malaria prevention in the Zambezi Region.
IRS involves coating the walls and other surfaces of a house with a residual insecticide.
The Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Dr Noel Siame said during a malaria elimination research partnership mini-symposium here on Wednesday, the biggest challenges during the campaign are logistics and communities not being receptive to the programme.
“Imagine, you go into the field and parents tell you to go away because you did not recruit their children during the programme. They basically shut the door and do not want you to spray,” he lamented.
The region recorded 1 167 cases of malaria in April 2016 alone. Statistics indicated that March 2016 recorded 505 cases while in February the same year, 277 cases were recorded. Almost the same figures were recorded in 2014. In 2013 and 2015, much lower rates were recorded.
Participation of local and regional authorities is key to the elimination of malaria in Namibia, Siame said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Ambassador of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Malaria Elimination Eight (E8) Organisation, former Minister of Health and Social Services, Richard Kamwi highlighted that elimination in the fight against malaria is key, not only for the Zambezi Region but for the continent.
“The trend in the Zambezi Region is not encouraging. Let us speak openly at this symposium. There is a need for us to know the enemy we are dealing with,” he said.
Since 2013, an increase in cases of malaria has been reported and surveillance should improve, he said. One of the problems hampering the fight against the disease in Namibia is the severe staff shortage at clinics. Cross-border movement is another challenge.
“There should be no diplomacy,” Kamwi cautioned, noting that countries such as Angola that border Namibia also have limited health facilities.
The one-day symposium was organised by the University of Namibia in collaboration with the MoHSS; the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Texas South Western Medical Centre.