MOH launches war on malaria

SHARE   |   Monday, 11 September 2017   |   By Ontametse Sugar

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is currently running a ‘Nyeletsa Malaria’ campaign to sensitise locals about the dangers of Malaria, which seems to have changed the pattern by affecting people in the south as well though it used to be predominantly a northern zone disease. National Malaria Campaign Programme Manager Tjantilili Mosweunyane said even though the world elimination target of malaria is 2020 in Botswana they have given themselves 2018 as the target so that by 2020 there is complete elimination of malaria. She said malaria control in Botswana started in 1950 with a comprehensive programme launched in 1974 and was then integrated with the primary health care programme. Mosweunyane said transmission in Botswana is seasonal –  from October to May. “The key strategies included in Botswana’s strategic plan to eliminate malaria by 2018 include household level case-based surveillance and investigation and attainment of 90 percent coverage with indoor residual spraying in high transmission areas,” she said. According to her, there will be large scale distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets, larviciding in transmission foci as well as operational and entomological research for evidence-based planning. Mosweunyane said they are wondering why there are having cases in new areas because they thought they were dealing well with it. Global Fund Grant Manager Dimpho Keabonye said they aim to destroy the adult mosquito, effect behavioural change and make sure that the community is well involved from the start. She regretted low uptake of interventions with some people locking their houses when they are supposed to be sprayed. “These are some of the few problems that we face with the community and these have resulted in them continuing to get affected,” she said. Keabonye said they are also involved in cross border coordination to test and assist those who might be getting into the country infected.  She said insufficient cross border coordination leads to malaria burden being imported from neighbouring Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. She said they are expected to be able to implement more targeted interventions to eliminate the remaining foci of transmission.