Mutoko District is facing a double tragedy as the 2020 Malaria season has coincided with the period where Zimbabwe as the rest of the World is grappling with the fight of Covid-19 pandemic.
In a meeting with the Mutoko District Health Executive (DHE), it was revealed that respraying of hotspots was set to be rolled out this week.
Acting District Medical Officer (A/DMO) Dr Prince Mangwiro said volunteers were on the ground mobilizing to start respraying in the areas that had presented as Malaria hotspots for the District. He said:
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We are embarking on this exercise as a mitigatory measure in light of the increase in cases this Malaria Season. This season has seen a sharp rise to 14806 from 4756 in 2018 and 5817 in 2019 respectively.
People have been doing a lot of outdoor activities such as market gardening as a source of livelihood. 12 deaths have also been recorded this 2020 hence the fight to recline the sharp curve.
Some of these deaths come from religious objectors who refuse treatment as well as obstruct treatment for their church members.
District Environmental Health Officer (DEHO) Chapata Madakudya, reported the district to have set out for the Malaria season with mobilisations and sensitization of the community for the Indoor Residual Spray (IRS).
As per IRS culture, there is a chemical rotation for each malaria season to ensure that the Anopheles does not grow resistant to the chemical hence the use of Fludora Fusion and OPs last season and DDT and OPs for the respraying, he said.
In light of the current increase in Malaria infections, the District has also conducted investigations to assess if the chemical on the walls is still effective. Said Madakudya:
Results obtained this week showed that the chemical sprayed during IRS is still on the walls and has 100 % mortality. Further to this, we are currently conducting a susceptibility test to investigate if the mosquito has not grown to be resistant to the sprayed chemical of which results are to be expected in two weeks time.
In preparation of the respraying, Madakudya said they will be strict observance of COVID-19 prevention guidelines for the teams right from transportation to the camps to ensure physical distance is maintained.
Nineteen wards surrounding health facilities like Katsukunya, Kapondoro, Mushimbo, Kushinga and Nyamuzuwe among others are set to be sprayed.