Zim, Malawi, Mozambique sign pact to combat malaria
Lovemore Ranga Mataire
Harare – Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique have signed a pact to combat malaria, a disease that has proven to be a major burden in the Southern Africa region where it freely circulates across borders.
The three countries last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) after a two-day conference in Mozambique where they agreed to develop coordinated strategies in fighting malaria and other diarrhoeal diseases.
Diarrhoea disease is the second leading cause of death in children under the age of five while malaria affects people across all ages.
The MOU came out of the realisation that cross border epidemics like cholera have been a major problem in recent years.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Health and Child Care Dr David Parirenyatwa, Mozambique’s Dr Nazira Abdula and Malawi’s ambassador to Mozambique Frank Viyazhi, who was representing the Malawian Health Minister, signed the MOU.
A total of 2 131 cholera cases have been reported since the beginning of the year in Tete, Maputo and Nampula. Malawi recorded 48 cases and several other cases of malaria around the Zambezi area. Zimbabwe has had 1 306 cases of typhoid since the beginning of the year.
The three countries agreed that curbing malaria involves prevention through provision of good sanitation, safe water, hygiene, health education, surveillance and treatment.
The countries acknowledged that what has been lacking has been a concerted regional effort to control cross border cholera outbreaks as countries were responding individually to situations which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) require joint country efforts.
A communiqué released after the two-day meeting emphasises the need to harmonise primary health care activities, treatment guidelines and facilitate clinical management in health facilities located in areas close to borders.
WHO representative in Mozambique Dr Djamila Khady Cabral congratulated the three countries for the shared initiative. She said WHO was committed to assisting the three countries with technical help, including mobilising resources for the implementation of the agreed strategies.
Zimbabwe has seasonal and geographic variation in malaria transmission that corresponds closely with the country’s rainfall pattern. According to the country’s Operational Plan FY 2017, the aim is to reduce malaria related mortality by 50 percent across 15 high-burden countries in Sub-Saharan Africa through rapid scale-up effective prevention and treatment measures.