By Staff Reporter
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare retired brigadier general Gerald Gwinji has revealed that there was an increase in the number of malaria outbreaks recorded this year compared to last year.
Dr. Gwinji on Tuesday, appeared before the portfolio committee on Health and Child Care to brief the committee on the ministry preparedness in response to the emergence of Malaria and prevention of diarrhoeal diseases.
“During this period from January to date there was indeed an increase of malaria cases as compared to the same period last year and so far in 2017 we have recorded 134 224 cases and 194 deaths caused by malaria and if compared to 2016 at this same time we had only reported 80 964 cases”, Dr Gwinji said.
According to Dr. Gwinji’s presentation, it also noted that there was a decrease of about 629 cases in the number of watery diarrhoea cases recorded compared to the same period this year.
Dr. Gwinji said, despite the heavy rains received this year being a major factor to the increase of malaria cases, there were no malaria outbreak cases that recorded in the flood-induced area of Tsholotsho in Matebeleland North province.
Perm sec Gwinji said outdoor livelihood activities that are being contacted by affected people and increased numbers of displaced populations from Mozambique had significantly contributed to the number of outbreaks.
“To respond to some of these cross-border challenges, arrangements are being made for the ministers and technical teams from Zimbabwe and Mozambique to meet in Tete and better coordinate responses to malaria and other communicable conditions”, Dr. Gwinji revealed.
Dr. Gwinji urged treasury to avail budget for the emergency response to the outbreaks indicating that the ministry was heavily relying on donor funds.
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito or by a contaminated needle or transfusion. Falciparum malaria is the most deadly type.
Symptoms of malaria include cycles of chills, fever, sweats, muscle aches and headache that recur every few days. There can also be vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, and yellowing (jaundice) of the skin and eyes.