2800 Strange Malaria Cases In Mat South
14 May 2020
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MATABELELAND South province has reported 2 823 cases of malaria and 11 deaths since the beginning of the year, with Beitbridge contributing 89 percent of the cases.

In 2019 the province recorded 583 cases and nine deaths down from 1 966 cases and 10 deaths in 2018 during the same period. Of the recorded cases this year, 2 511 are from Beitbridge District, 249 from Gwanda and 17 from Insiza. Matobo recorded 28, Umzingwane districts 11 and Mangwe had seven.

Matabeleland South provincial medical director Dr Rudo Chikodzore said over the years, Beitbridge and Gwanda districts have remained the hot spots for malaria in the province.

“This high number of malaria cases is similar to those of 2017 when there was a malaria outbreak in the province. The majority (89 percent) of the cases reported are from Beitbridge district in particular the eastern part of the district,” said Dr Chikodzore.

She said the southern part of Gwanda district has also recorded a high number, contributing nine percent of the total malaria cases.

According to Dr Chikodzore, the province last recorded a high number of deaths due to malaria in 2017 where 13 people died between week one and 19.

“The majority of the cases were reported mid-February to mid-April which is in the peak period for malaria transmission. The Government through the Ministry of Health and Child Care has developed a system of rapid guidance for malaria emergency response in the context of Covid-19 and supporting health workers in the implementation,” she said.

She said outdoor activities during the night when mosquitoes are likely to bite like overnight irrigation, guarding fields, sleeping at cattle posts, artisanal mining, harvesting mopane worms are the key drivers of malaria in the region.

“We continue to investigate the malaria cases and drivers of transmission and we are doing our best to address these drivers. There is a continuous distribution of insecticide treated nets especially to those who were missed in the mass distribution and those who lost their nets for whatever reason,” said Dr Chikodzore.

The Ministry recently announced that countrywide cumulative malaria cases stand at 170 303 with 152 deaths compared to 117 715 cases and 127 deaths which were recorded 2019 over the same period. According to the World Health Organisation, malaria cases and deaths may double in Africa if prevention and treatment services are disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Villagers from Gwanda South recently raised an urgent SOS claiming that a strange malaria outbreak is wreaking havoc in the area leaving them believing that the malaria could be the deadly Coronavirus.

The villagers who spoke to ZimEye.com claim that just in the last week at least five people have succumbed to the strange disease which the local health centres insist to be malaria.

The villagers further claimed that what raises their fears on Coronavirus are the symptoms that they see on all the people who have fallen ill to the alleged malaria.

“All the people who have been attacked by this disease have a very strong fever and are shivering and yet sweating at the same time,” said a villager in an anonymous tip off sent to ZimEye.com.

“The people also get a diarrhoea of a kind, lose appetite and complain of a sore throat which we have seen the media claim to be symptoms of the Coronavirus,” added the tip off.

The villagers also disclosed that the local health centres do not have a Coronavirus testing centre.