By Eliaser Ndeyanale
HEALTH Minister Bernard Haufiku has announced an increase in the number of malaria cases in the northern regions, with the two Kavango and Ohangwena regions being the hardest hit.
Haufiku said 20 deaths have been reported in the Kavango so far. “Total malaria cases from January to February this year, 4 617 cases have been recorded in the two Kavango regions, 1 184 cases in Ohangwena, 582 in Zambezi, 237 in Omusati, 196 in Oshikoto, 69 in Oshana, 97 in Otjozondjupa, 11 in Omaheke and 10 in the Kunene regions.
“In order to ensure a robust response to the outbreaks currently being experienced in these regions, the Ministry is requesting additional funding to provide adequate resources to response to the affected regions,” said the minister.
Haufiku also said that his ministry needs readily available fuelled vehicles for malaria response for environmental workers and nurses to do rapid testing and treating on the site.
“Village headmen and regional councils will assist with identifying local gathering points.”
He added that the malaria outbreak response teams depend heavily on adequate resources and coordinated active surveillance in key transmission focus.
“The total budget for the outbreak response is N$2 132 600, of which the ministry has identified N$1 000 000 from its own resources, leaving a gap of N$1 132 600.
“Additional equipment needed for the response including tents and camping equipment, helicopters in order for medications and staff to reach flood-affected areas are being mobilised in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister.
“The ministry has formed a standing malaria surveillance, which meets weekly to discuss the situation and make recommendations. This meeting consists of Ministry technical staff, World Health Organisation (WHO), Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and Elimination 8 Secretariat. Colleagues from the Health Information and Research Directorate, Ministry of Defence, University of Namibia, nursing schools, health training centres will be included in this forum taking place on Wednesday (yesterday),” said the minister.
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