John Muyamba Nkurenkuru-Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernhard Haufiku, has urged people to support the anti-malaria campaign. He said it is important that indoor residual spraying teams are allowed to spray all roofed structures and test everyone in those homes for malaria that will then lead to eliminating the malaria-causing mosquito (vector) and that the campaign needs to be supported fully in order to achieve its goals. Haufiku was speaking at the launch of the Indoor, Residual Spraying (IRS) last Thursday in Nkurenkuru, Kavango West Region. This year’s indoor residual spraying started on 18 September and will go on in the next two months and 15 days and will be implemented in eight out of the 14 regions in the country, namely, Kavango East and West, Oshana, Oshikoto, Kunene, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke Ohangwena and Omusati. “Let’s support it because it works,” Haufiku said. “We are aware that the spraying programme conducted in 2014, 2015 and 2016 did not achieve the desired protective coverage of 85 percent and above, with many regions having an IRS coverage below the 85 percent required WHO prerequisite for effective IRS to impact on malaria transmission. The outbreaks registered in the country for the last four years indicate to us that the gains we have made remain fragile, and that more still needs to be done to transform our strategies /services towards malaria elimination,” Haufiku noted. This year 43 000 thousand cases of malaria have been diagnosed and reported in Namibia,10 times more than the corresponding figure in 2012. This is compared to 24 000 in 2016, 34 deaths in 2017 and compared to 104 deaths in 2016. And of all the regions in Namibia, Kavango West had the highest number of Malaria cases and mortality as 80 percent of all malaria cases in Namibia. Haufiku urged individuals families and communities to take good care of their own health most importantly, prevent ill health, whether it is avoiding mosquito bites by following advice from healthcare professionals such as staying indoors from sunset to sunrise, wearing long-sleeved shirts or T-shirts and long trousers or skirts; if you are outside at dawn, avoid sitting near stagnant water ponds where mosquitoes breed and use mosquito nets and repellents. He also advised Namibians to allow teams of health workers to come and spray their houses and rooms where mosquitoes hide and wake up to multiply during the rainy season. “My plea, therefore, to everyone here today and those not here is: Do not prevent our healthcare workers (from spraying teams, health education teams and testing and treating teams or any other healthcare team) from entering your house. Please collaborate with them and support them only when you cooperate with them will their work be made relatively easy and your lives saved from malaria,” he said. “We had a difficult situation in April this year when a man in Walvis Bay threatened to divorce his wife who was here in the region at their home, should she allow the spray team to spray their house. We had to engage in lengthy telephonic negotiations with the security officer in Walvis Bay to allow the team to enter his house, spray all roofed structures and test everyone in the house for malaria. I was later informed by Dr Uusikum who was leading the team in Kavango Westm that all four members of that family tested positive for malaria,” Haufiku noted. IRS is targeted at protecting all risk populations, namely, the under-fives, the elderly and pregnant women by reducing the rate of malaria infections.
2017-10-03 09:43:02 11 months ago