Malaria mortality reduced by 92 percent in Namibia, more joint efforts needed

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

Namibia has reduced its malaria mortality by 92 percent, becoming the most successful African country in combating the disease, officials said here Thursday.

Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services Kalumbi Shangula said the country “is doing far much better than other countries” in terms of death rate control. “Since 2010 we have recorded a slightly higher number of cases infected by malaria, but we have drastically lowered the death cases.” He said the northern part of the country has recorded a higher number of infection cases, because the region receives a rather high level of rainfall, which encourages mosquito breeding.

Despite the massive success achieved by Namibia, WHO country representative Charles Sago-Moses warned that the southern African country has been regressing on the progress against malaria, because of the low donor funding in the past few years. “We need to motivate funding against malaria. Our observation is that most of the recent challenges Namibia has suffered in terms of malaria control are cross-border cases,” he said. In such circumstances, member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have set sights on eliminating malaria in the shortest possible time, Malaria Elimination 8 (E8), a group on malaria disease control, said on Thursday.

John Chimumbwa, executive director of the E8 consisting of eight southern African countries — Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe — said the SADC has changed its priority from controlling to eliminating the disease by 2030. “Countries in the SADC are working together on information exchanges of the best practices to eliminate malaria. The same has also been adopted by the African Union with richer countries assisting poor nations” in an effort to eliminate malaria in the future, he said.

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