JIMMY CHIBUYE, Choma
THE drive towards elimination of malaria in Southern Province by 2021 has received a boost after the province received 1. 8 million long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
The province, like any other region in the country, is benefiting from Government’s various malaria elimination interventions, which include, the distribution of 10.2 million nets countrywide.
Zambia, like any other Southern African Development Community (SADC) Malaria Elimination (E8) member state, seeks to end malaria by 2021.
Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said after inspecting the nets here on Saturday that the initiative is the last push for malaria elimination for the region.
“This is our last push for malaria elimination for Southern Province. The province has done extremely well in the malaria elimination agenda. We are talking about zero mortality rate and single-digit malaria cases in most of the districts,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said Government is confident malaria elimination in the province is a reality because of the various interventions put in place.
Dr Chilufya said intervention like distribution of the 1.8 million nets, various vector control measures, prudent indoor spraying programmes, mass drug administration, community involvement and enhanced surveillance are making it a reality to end malaria by 2021 in the region.
He said Government has also placed community-based players who are involved not only in sensitisation but also in testing, treating and tracking of malaria cases.
Dr Chilufya said Government is further strengthening cross- border initiatives to prevent the importation and exportation of new malaria cases through border towns of Sinazongwe, Gwembe, Kazungula, Chirundu, Siavonga and Livingstone.
He said the cross-border initiatives are being implemented through the support of the E8 secretariat.
“We are going to place mobile clinics at Kazungula and Chirundu for starters to ensure that malaria surveillance is strengthened. We do not want to import or export any new cases,” Dr Chilufya said.
He said Government is not only investing in robust national agenda but also strengthening the cross border initiative.
Dr Chilufya said Government is impressed with the just concluded malaria indicator survey for Southern and Western provinces whose indicative figures are positive in the fight against the disease.
Provincial medical officer Jelita Chinyonga said the 1.8 million nets will be distributed in all the 13 districts in the province.