Mashonaland East Province has recorded 12 389 cases of Malaria including eight deaths in its four districts with the figures likely to go up in a situation that is likely to impact efforts being done to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was disclosed by Mashonaland East Provincial Medical Director, Dr Simukai Zizhou in an interview with this reporter.
He said the third week of April alone saw the province recording 12 389 Malaria cases from 19 370 people who were tested.
Mudzi district tops the list with 5 334 cases followed by Mutoko with 4 163 cases, whist UMP had 1 906 cases and Murehwa having recorded 734 such cases.
The rest of the districts are not yet seriously affected as compared to the above four as Marondera had 62 cases, whilst Chikomba, Goromonzi, Hwedza and Seke had 72, 46, 58 and 12 cases respectively.
The focus has mainly been on COVID-19
“Our problem with the Malaria situation is that we have actually been focusing more on COVID-19 because it is very lethal, but it does not take away the importance of the other WHO programmes that we have been having like Malaria, we are actually in a Malaria season and as of this year, the figures that we are getting are way higher than any other year”.
Even if you look at the WHO focus for Malaria for this year, they indicate that this is going to be a very terrible year for us as the figures are likely going to increase significantly in the coming weeks,” said Dr Zizhou.
He said the situation has been made worse as the frontline treatment workers who are predominantly Village Health Workers who are normally tasked with carrying out Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Malaria are now faced with challenges of moving around doing their job due to COVID-19 pandemic which restricts people’s movements.
“This has been a major draw-back, but however we are trying to mitigate this by providing protective means for our Village Health Workers, mainly sanitizers and face masks so that they are comfortable visiting someone who has a fever and these Village Health Workers willalso help us in identifying possible cases of COVID-19, because if anyone tests negative to Malaria and have a fever we will then test them for COVID-19,” said Dr Zizhou.