AUTHORITIES in Kagera Region are working on initiatives aimed at fighting malaria in the area, which will include raising public awareness on the disease and how it is transmitted to encourage community participation in wiping out the disease.
Kagera Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Albert Chalamila cited concerted efforts being undertaken in the region as Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), the use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) and polio jabs to infants.
“The government is committed to ensure that people get maximum social services, including health, education and water infrastructure. My appeal to people is to invest in their health by conducting regular checkup to know their status.
“Investing in health is very crucial. Weak and sick people cannot contribute positively in national building. Economic development of the country depends on good health of the people. I also urge people to join the Community Health Fund (CHF) to enable them enjoy services rendered by the fund,” he said.
Mr Chalamila explained that malaria prevalence in Kagera region had been reduced considerably from 42 per cent recorded in 2007/08 to 15.4 per cent during 2017/18 while the national malaria prevalence rate stood at 7.1 per cent.
Gracing the World Malaria Day on Tuesday in Dar es Salaam, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa directed the Ministry of Health to conduct a comprehensive campaign especially in rural areas to raise awareness on the disease.
He explained that although the country has recorded a decline in confirmed malaria cases by 55 per cent, more efforts were still needed in order to eliminate the disease by 2030.
The PM urged the Ministry of Health to continue using research institutions to come up with standard mosquito nets for malaria fight.
“There are so many mosquito nets. But we need those with quality so as to cope with government’s pace in eradicating the disease,” he said.
He also instructed the local government to ensure that mosquito nets provided by the government are used for the intended purposes and not for shielding crops in gardens.
The Minister for Health, Ms Ummy Mwalimu, on the other hand, said although transmission varies significantly among and within regions in the country, 94 per cent of the entire population of Tanzania is considered at risk of malaria infections.
She further said malaria confirmed cases declined from 7.7 million in 2015 to 3.5 million in 2022, the ailment incidence per 1000 population reduced by almost 64 per cent from 162 in 2015 to 58 in 2022.
Minister Mwalimu listed five regions with the highest malaria prevalence, which includes Tabora (23.4 per cent), followed by Mtwara (20 per cent), Kagera (18 per cent), Shinyanga (16 per cent) and Mara (15 per cent).
The lowest prevalence regions are Manyara, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Songwe, Mwanza and Dar es Salaam.
She explained that they started a campaign to provide medication for preventing malaria infection in schools and malaria testing in households in remote areas by using community members who will be given education and tools.
In addition, she said the government will also continue to provide treated mosquito nets, education and monitor prevalence at homes as efforts towards eradicating the disease.
This year’s day is marked under the theme: “Time to Deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, Implement”.