Paidamoyo Chipunza Health Reporter
GOVERNMENT says the number of people infected with malaria since the beginning of the year fell by 50 percent compared to the same period last year. In an interview on Wednesday, national malaria manager in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Joseph Mberikunashe said 157 182 cases of malaria have been recorded so far this year compared to 306 943 during the same period last year.

He said in 2013 a total of 256 909 cases were recorded throughout the Year.Dr Mberikunashe said there was also a decline in the number of malaria deaths from a high of 324 in 2014 to 226 this year.

“We are beginning to see a decrease in the number of people being infected with malaria since 2012 and if we maintain the current trend without witnessing any outbreaks, we should be able to see a further drop to the current figures by year end,” said Dr Mberikunashe.

He said while the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target was to reduce malaria burden by 75 percent by year end, the current trends show that the burden has so far been reduced by 71 percent.

He urged people to continue using available prevention methods like treated mosquito nets and seeking early treatment.

“At some point we had surpassed the target of reducing malaria burden in the country to about 81 percent, but those gains were eroded between 2013 and 2014 when we had several outbreaks particularly in Manicaland area,” said Dr Mberikunashe.

He attributed the outbreaks in Manicaland to mosquitoes that have developed resistance to chemicals.

“The outbreaks occurred in areas which had been sprayed, but further investigations revealed that mosquitoes in those areas had become resistant to the chemicals which had been used,” said Dr Mberikunashe.