KAGERA Region has recorded a significant decrease in deaths caused by malaria by about 25.3 per cent in three years, it has been disclosed.
The Regional Malaria Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) coordinator, Dr Julian Mugengi, told the ‘ Daily News’ that the region had succeeded in reducing the prevalence rate of malaria from 42 per cent during 2007/08 to 15.4 per cent last year, citing workable strategies, including indoor residual spraying (IRS) and the use of insecticide treated nets (ITN) and polio jabs to infants.
The number of dispensaries increased from 206 in 2005 to 239 by 2010, health centres increased from 21 (2005) to 28 (2010), while the number of hospitals also increased from 13 in 2005 to 15 by 2010.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) for children aged below five years also dropped from 110 per 1,000 children in 2005 to five per 1,000 children in 2010.
The mortality rate for children aged above five years improved from 182 per 1,000 children (2005) to 28 per 1,000 children (2010.).
“The government is keen on ensuring more lives are saved through improved health delivery and the construction of health facilities, including dispensaries in rural areas where most Tanzanians live,” he said.
However, he noted that more efforts were needed to reduce malaria by employing an integrated approach, including prevention through mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying, the prevention of malaria in pregnancy, prompt diagnosis and correct treatment, strengthened malaria surveillance, improved human resources and the promotion of positive behaviour for malaria prevention.
Malaria is a leading cause of deaths for children aged under five years and pregnant women as well as a major cause of maternal mortality. Malaria is a major worldwide health problem.
In most malaria-affected countries, sleeping under an insecticidetreated bed net (ITN) is the most common and most effective way to prevent malaria infection.
In 2016, about 54 per cent of people at risk of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa slept under an ITN compared to 30 per cent in 2010.