Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa says while Zimbabwe has scored high in malaria prevention, cross border collaboration between Zimbabwe and its neighbouring countries is key to the country’s efforts to increase malaria elimination and to consolidate current achievements.
Stakeholders in the health sector recently convened a malaria conference in Kariba to deliberate on progress made so far and to discuss new trends in malaria interventions.
Indications were that Zimbabwe has made tremendous strides in its quest to eliminate malaria, one of which is the surpassing of the Millennium Development Goal Number 6 set target on elimination of the epidemic.
Zimbabwe achieved a 79 percent rate in the reduction of malaria incidence against a set target of 75 percent.
However, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa says collaboration with neighbouring countries with which Zimbabwe shares high malaria burden borderlines is key to elimination of the disease.
He called for an indaba of the so called e-8 countries, a grouping of Southern African states committed to fighting malaria , in order to come up with a position on cross border collaboration.
National malaria control programme officer Wilson Chauke indicated that there should be universal access to effective malaria prevention interventions by people at risk of the disease.
Current interventions include indoor residual spraying which has achieved a 95 percent coverage of the targeted population, while a 100 percent coverage has been achieved on provision of long lasting insecticide treated nets.
Some 44 districts have been targeted for indoor residual spraying programme for the 2015-2016 period, targeting 3,6 million people.
Meanwhile, Minister Parirenyatwa has allayed fears by environmentalist s on the use of DDT, saying the chemical is not being used in the open environment, but indoors only.
Environmentalists have been advocating for the ban on the use of the chemical due to its lethal effect on the environment.
The minister, who advocated for its use in malaria control programmes, says DDT has been very effective in malaria prevention interventions. – ZBC