Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Malaria in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe has received a bleak prognosis for 2009 regarding malaria and cholera cases. Cholera continues to surge at epidemic levels, high numbers of malaria cases are also expected. "Malaria may be worse in Zimbabwe in 2009" than it has been in previous years. "That's because efforts to control cholera may be diverting attention away from programs to prevent malaria. The warning comes from the Rollback Malaria Campaign" (DeCapua).

"It's not just the rainy season that's helping to spread" the diseases, "but also a weakened healthcare system and poor water and sanitation". The Rollback Malaria Campaign adds that "there's been much less indoor residual spraying against mosquitoes", "and current heavy rains will help increase the mosquito population." Treatment "kits to help manage severe malaria cases are not reaching those in need due to distribution problems and that there's a shortage of healthcare workers due to Zimbabwe's economic crisis" (DeCapua).

According to recent statistics, fewer than 7% of young children sleep under any kind of mosquito net. Since mosquitoes are most active at night, the use of a net is paramount in avoiding bites from the mosquitoes that may carry malaria.
For more statistics please visit the Zimbabwe country profile.

Bureaucratic bottlenecks have limited the program's effectiveness in Zimbabwe, but other challenges are even more difficult to overcome. "Problems with flow of global fund within country resulted the loss of part of funding" and there is a constant shortage of personnel (RBM Campaign).

However, there is good news for Zimbabwe. Malaria-related deaths fell between 2001 and 2007 largely because of malaria treatment programs.

Chart of Malaria Deaths 2001-2007 provided by the RBM Campaign The number of deaths is expected to rise in 2009 due to the projected increase in numbers of cases.

[Photo provided by the RBM Campaign]

Currently, "malaria is found in all areas of Zimbabwe except the city of Harare" (Uyaphi). According to the MD Travel Health Website, "Prophylaxis with Lariam, Malarone, or doxycycline" Malaria treatment "is recommended for all areas, except the cities of Harare and Bulawayo".

Malaria prevention in Zimbabwe is dependent of funds raised outside of the country. If you would like to donate to the RBM Campaign, please visit their donation page.

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