Tuesday, 5 October 2010

IRS project to combat malaria in Lake Zone

From Daily News, Dar es Salaam

MALARIA remains a serious pandemic, affecting some parts of the world including the Eastern and Central Africa and continue to claim lives of millions of people. It is a major Public health problem for the Sub-Saharan Africa countries.

About one million people are dying annually and more than 400 million cases of malaria reported every year. It also causes one third of deaths among children under five years of age. According to the HIV/Malaria Indicator Survey for 2008/09, the disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among outpatient and inpatient admissions in Tanzania.

It accounts for up to 40 per cent of all outpatient attendances in the country. Many parts of the mainland, including the uplands, report malaria transmissions throughout the year although it occurs more frequently during and after rainy season. Malaria pandemic is caused by four species of plasmodia parasites that are transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes.

Plasmodium falciparum is the most common for the transmission of the disease. It causes severe malaria, and is fatal if not diognised promptly and properly managed. The most severe cases occur among persons who have not yet developed sufficient immunity to malaria through previous exposure. Children under five years of age are at highest risk, followed by pregnant women because of their reduced natural immunity levels, where one fifth of deaths reported are of the pregnant women.

Malaria causes loss and economic burden in the country, ranging from school nonattendance to low productivity at workplaces. It also reduces agricultural production and other economic output; additionally, the accumulated effect in the long term may decrease national economic capacity and development.

In Mwanza region, it contributes to 39.4 per cent and 48 per cent of all outpatient attendances in less than 5 yrs and above 5yrs of age. It also contributes to 33.4 per cent of children under five and 42.1 per cent for 5 yrs and above of all admissions in health centres.

Mwanza Region Commissioner (RC) Abbas Kandoro says the disease killed more than 1500 people in 2009.

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