China’s support toward Zambia’s fight against malaria commended

Malaria parasites - seen here infecting red blood cells - and mosquitoes do not like cold temperatures
Malaria parasites - seen here infecting red blood cells - and mosquitoes do not like cold temperatures

China’s support toward Zambia’s malaria fight has contributed to the reduction in the number of cases of the disease in the country, a Zambian expert said on World Malaria Day, which is marked each year on April 25.

The Chinese government constructed and equipped one of Zambia National Malaria Elimination Center’s molecular laboratories for experts to be able to conduct more in-depth testing for malaria programming, leading to improved responses.

“Aside from that, every year, the Chinese government also provides us with scholarships to train our medical personnel in malaria programming in China. Thus far we have had a good number of Zambian specialists across the country trained,” said Busiku Hamainza, Zambia National Malaria Elimination Center Deputy Director in an interview with Xinhua.

Hamainza, who is an epidemiologist, further explained that China is one of the countries that are on the trajectory to Malaria elimination and on the way to getting that certification.

“This has helped us a lot in the sense that the team that goes to China learns how China has managed to register notable achievements in that regard. This has been very helpful for us. We are getting some of the technical updates and guidelines that the Chinese have been using, and trying to apply them in our own context,” he said.

He added that malaria has for a long time been a major public health concern in Africa, and urged Zambia not to relent in efforts aimed at its eventual elimination.

Last year, Zambia recorded about 5.3 million cases of malaria, some 1,300 of which resulted in deaths. The aforementioned figures translate into about 14,000 cases of malaria per day.

“If you look at the deaths resulting from malaria, for example five years ago, we were almost around 4000-5000 deaths annually. Now that trajectory has come down and we are around 1,300 deaths annually. We are hoping to push this even further. There has been some progress that has been made but we are not yet at there,” he said.

Hamainza pointed out that malaria is a preventable and treatable disease but that there is still a lot that needs to be done in terms of advocacy so that more people can make use of the various measures aimed at eliminating it. The measures include encouraging communities to sleep under insecticide-treated nets, cooperating with indoor residual spraying operators and having all pregnant women access antenatal services so that they can also receive free Intermittent preventive treatment. Enditem

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