Monday, October 07, 2013

Zambia records 3,000 malaria deaths in 2012
By Fridah Nkonde in Lusaka and Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Wed 11 Sep. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA recorded 3,000 deaths out of over 4 million malaria cases recorded in 2012, according to the World Health Organisation 2012 annual report.

Meanwhile, Mopani Copper Mines says it will this year spend about US$222,000 (K1.2 million) on Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) and other malaria-related activities. According to the report, malaria is an impediment to socio-economic development in Zambia.

"In 2012, about 4.8 million malaria cases and 3,000 deaths were reported due to malaria, a disease which is preventable and for which efficacious, cost-effective tools for prevention exist. However, the national malaria control programme has made significant impact on the disease morbidity and mortality in the past 12 or more years with WHO and other partner support to national authorities," WHO stated.

It stated that the 2012 Malaria Indicator Survey showed that 72 per cent of Zambian households had at least one mosquito net, adding that 68 per cent of households had at least one Insecticide-Treated mosquito Net (ITN), representing an increase from 2010.

The report stated that the number of districts included in the IRS programme in 2012 increased from 36 to all districts since the 2010 survey, with an increasing number of more rural malaria infested areas targeted for spraying in 2012.

"About 72 per cent of households nationally reported having either an ITN or being sprayed in the past year. WHO offered both financial and technical support to the Ministry of Health to assure efficacious diagnostic, antimalarial medicines and availability of effective interventions. WHO supported the Ministry of Health to plan, review field protocols and to conduct the 4th national representative Malaria Indicators Survey, 2012," it stated.

WHO further stated that the 2012 Malaria Indicators Survey assessed population coverage of promotive, preventive, treatment coverage intervention and provided information coverage on malaria impact-morbidity and mortality indicators.

And speaking at the launch of the IRS campaign in Kitwe's Chamboli Township, MCM chief executive officer Danny Callow said the company was targeting to spray over 40,000 houses in an effort to eradicate the disease.

Callow said the campaign was an important exercise that was undertaken annually in MCM catchment areas in Kitwe and Mufulira before the onset ofthe rainy season.

He said the company last year sprayed over 35,000 households.
"As a company, we realised and recognised the negative impact of malaria on production and decided to take measures to address it in the spirit of corporate citizenship. Our malaria programme was set up as part of our robust corporate social responsibility programme which was aimed at contributing to the well being of the communities in which we operate," Callow said.

He said in 2000, the malaria incidence rate on the Copperbelt stood at an alarming 216 people out of 1,000, which was not sustainable for the economy that had gone through a difficult period and needed quick resurgence.

Callow said Mopani embarked on a programme to reduce the burden of malaria on the Copperbelt to contribute to national effort aimed at eradicating the disease because it understood the close relationship between health and productivity and the need to have healthy employees and the general public.

And Deputy Minister of Mines Richard Musukwa said the government was proudof MCM's initiative as it was supporting the national agenda of bringing quality healthcare closer to the people.

"I know about the numerous health programmes that you are offering to our people, such as free cervical cancer screening for women. The correctional treatment for clubfoot in children project you are undertaking, free under-five services and many more. Our women and children are benefiting greatly from your support. The over K30 million investment you have made in health over the years is definitely paying dividends," said Musukwa.

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