July 20, 2024

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Namibia: Malaria Has Bounced Back, Killing Namibians

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Southern African Development Community (SADC) E8 ambassador Richard Kamwi has pleaded with the World Health Assembly to consider putting more resources into domestic funding for malaria to be eliminated in the region by 2030.

In a recent engagement with Future Media, Kamwi said malaria has bounced back.

“Malaria has bounced back, with hundreds of cases being recorded. Malaria is killing Namibians, and for a disease that we should have already eliminated, we are not doing well,” he said. Kamwi stated: “People are no longer putting in place those strategies of eliminating malaria. We need to eliminate the vectors, and to do that we need to at least spray more than 90%. Is this being done? The answer is no.”

The former health minister was recently in Geneva at a SADC E8 Council of Ministers’ meeting on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly, where he said the assembly must continue honouring pledges made by SADC heads of state and government through the Windhoek Malaria Declaration.

Kamwi stated that the Global Fund is threatening to end this support by the end of September 2024 without financial support from member states.

“We established this initiative called E8 in 2009 in Windhoek with an intended objective for at least four frontline member states of Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia and South Africa to eliminate malaria by 2020, to be followed by second-line member states (Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe) by 2030, all through strengthening border collaboration,” said the medical physician.

Kamwi added that in 2018, heads of state and government signed a Windhoek Declaration to eliminate malaria in SADC, an agreement they committed themselves to by boosting domestic funding and recommitting themselves to a collaborative regional fight against malaria.

While commemorating World Malaria Day on Thursday in Andara district in the Kavango East region, the director of health Idah Mendai revealed that this year, the region has reported 2122 cases.

Out of these, Andra district reported more than half-67% (1 429) of the cases from January to the 3rd week of May 2024 and five deaths were reported, of which two are from Andara district.

Comparing the same period last year, she said the region recorded 1429 cases – 67% more cases this year and four more deaths. Mendai said it was against this background that the region deemed it vital to raise awareness through the commemoration, together with stakeholders, to sensitise the community to the importance of malaria prevention as well as raise awareness.

“Namibia is one of the Elimination 8 (E8) countries in SADC. Thus, we are earmarked for elimination.

Being in a high malaria transmission zone, our malaria statistics are closely monitored for quick intervention and response. We report these cases and monitor them weekly. The district teams feed us as a region and we, therefore, monitor as we see the trend of the report,” she said.

“Amongst the reported cases in the Andara district which shows alarming statistics, it has been noted with concern that there are daily cross-border movements mostly in areas of Shadikongoro and Biro of school-going children. There are also movements of people seeking healthcare services.

As a result, among the reported cases, 351 (25%) are non-local cases, with one death reported. The non-local cases are coming from Angola, but they are counted here because they are detected here and recorded under Andara,” she noted. Mendai said upon receiving the reports, the region acted together with the district to intervene and stop the transmission. They also engaged their Angolan counterparts to have discussions on cooperation and efforts to fight malaria together. “It is really important that our counterparts have come here today so that we discuss how we can combine our efforts. It won’t serve a purpose if we do so much from our side, and yet the other side is relaxing. We need to move in one direction,” she said.

By New Era.

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