Kagera Regional Medical Officer (RMO), Dr Alex Mwita, told the 'Daily News' in an interview that the efforts, included, Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN).Data indicates that a total of 17,506 patients were admitted to various health institutions in Kagera Region during 2010 due to malaria, and 242 malaria patients died. Out of that number, 80 per cent were children under the age of five and pregnant women.
According to the 2008/09 Tanzania HIV/AIDS and Malaria Indicator Survey (THMIS), Kagera Region malaria prevalence stood between 42 and 45 per cent. Lindi Region has 35 per cent, while has Mtwara Region has 34 per cent.Overall Tanzania has reduced malaria deaths of children below the age of five from 147 for every 1,000 children to 81 by 2010.
With just a few years remaining before the deadline set for meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) world wide, malaria is is still one of the deadliest diseases in Africa.There has been a decrease of nearly 40 per cent in the number of deaths from malaria worldwide in the past decade, the World Health Organization says.
Experts said if targets continue to be met; a further three million lives could be saved by 2015.According to Dr Mwita, Kagera region provided measles vaccinations and polio jabs to over one million children aged nine months to five years. He said the region surpassed the national average of 90 per cent by scoring between 93 - 95 per cent.
He said the region vaccinated 438,067 children, implying a 94 per cent achievement while 400,000 children were provided with polio jabs, equivalent to 93.3 per cent success.The region also provided Vitamin A drops to 386,150 children, a 95 per cent and deworming tablets to 341,797 children.
According to Dr Mwita, Kagera region had targeted to vaccinate about 476,000 children against measles and give polio jabs to 566,571 children. The region also targeted to provide Vitamin A drops and deworming tablets to 478,496 children. "The aim of this campaign is to control the prevalence measles and protect children from polio. The initiative also provided Vitamin A drops and deworming tablets,'' he said.
He said immunization was the most cost-effective way of controlling the targeted diseases as it covers a large population within a short period of time. Dr Mwita said the exercise of providing measles and polio jabs was most important at this particular period following reports that neighbouring countries of Uganda, Kenya and Burundi had reported polio outbreaks.
He commended parents in Bukoba Rural, Muleba, Chato, Biharamulo, Ngara, Karagwe, Bukoba Urban and Misenyi districts for their co-operation during the campaign.Statistics show that between 800 and 1,000 people out of 100,000, mostly children under five years of age, suffered from measles in 1975. The rate of infection dropped to only 42 out of 100,000 in 1999.
He said that the survey has indicated an increase in the number of people suffering from measles during 2011 as compared to 2010 and called on the general public to use the vaccination opportunity effectively in order to protect their children. He said that during 2010 the country had only 74 measles patients but last year the survey shows that there are 1,874 patients suffering from measles nationwide the more reason why children need to be immunised.