A World Vision Malawi and government partnership aimed at reducing malaria prevalence and death rates using indoor residual spray has paid dividends as it has registered a 63 percent reduction of the disease.
This was revealed during a media tour of some of the projects which received Global Fund support to boost the country’s strategy on Integrated Vector Control involving Long Lasting Insecticide Net (LLINS) distribution, Larvicide management and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS).
For the beneficiaries, the initiative has really helped in the past two years especially for those living near swampy areas as mosquitoes are killed through the process however the major challenge is the emergence of bedbugs.
Gloria Malita testified that this year her husband and one child had malaria but it wasn’t severe.
“Previously I used to have regular hospital visits especially with my six year old who used to contract malaria, but since the initiative started, coupled with use of a mosquito net, my child is not contracting malaria.”
She urged government to continue with the programme and distribution of the nets as it has really helped in curbing the spread of the disease.
To those who use nets for fishing, she condemned the practice arguing they are supposed to be used in combating malaria and dismissed assertions that it’s part of birth control.
Edina Enock a volunteer from the same village agreed that before the initiative was introduced, they used to have many malaria cases and regular hospital visits but after it was introduced, things have greatly improved.
A mother of seven, previously three family members could get sick every month but now they have peaceful nights and now live healthy lifestyles.
Witness Mapila a health surveillance assistant from Traditional Authority Mponda in the district explained that before this, they used to register high incidents of malaria but now there is a reduction.
He runs a village clinic with a catchment of 1,300 people which used to have many cases of Malaria but afterwards this has changed as in a week they could have 15-17 cases but afterwards there were zero cases.
Mapila stated the villagers have positively responded to the programme when they visit them unlike in the past when they used to experience some resistance but now it’s been accepted because they use the nets together with the spraying method.
Jessie Kapila Assistant environmental health officer working under Mpondasi health centre in Kafulumira village disclosed that from 2017 to 2019, number of malaria cases have reduced.
In 2017, Mangochi had 260 cases per 1, 000 population, while in 2018, 380 cases per 1000 were registered and in 2019, it was 354 per 1000.
After carrying out the IRS activity in 2020, the cases reduced to 226 cases per 1000 showing a 63 percent reduction.
“Now after we carried out the IRS activity in 2020, the cases reduced to 226 cases per 1000 which is indicating that the reduction is up to 63 percent in terms of malaria incidents; it means IRS is really assisting to reduce the malaria cases,” she revealed.
According to her, the major challenge is mainly in urban areas as the people do not like to move their food and household items to allow the process to take place as walls are sprayed and most of them feel the process is quite involving unlike in rural settings.
She cited Saiti Kadzuwa area which is in urban setting where they had targeted over 1000 households to be sprayed, but only managed to spray 400.
Kapila said they use community radio stations like Dzimwe and Health Surveillance Assistants (HASs) to raise awareness on Malaria and inform them that even though their households have been sprayed, they are supposed to continue using mosquito nets to effectively protect themselves.
She was upbeat that by the end of the five year project, the mosquito population would have reduced.
World Vision's relationship with the Global Fund stretches back from 2017 when the children's charity reached over 10.8 million people with a combination of Insecticide Treated Nets, setting up of Village clinics and training of HSA’s and provision of Rapid Diagnostic Testing Kits.