MAUN: Botswana enjoys success in the battle against the reduction of cases and deaths related to malaria said Minister of Health Reverand Dr John Seakgosing at the SADC E8 minister's malaria elimination meeting in Maun last week.
Seakgosing observed that Botswana has significantly reduced the burden of malaria from 77,555 unconfirmed cases in 2000 to 12,196 cases in 2010. Malaria deaths on the other hand decreased from 35 to seven over the same period. He said this success is due to the country's ability to distribute long lasting mosquito nets and indoor spraying in the malaria prevalent areas. The rolling out of artemisin-based combination treatment (ACT) in 2007 also contributed to the reduction of malaria cases and deaths.
Moving towards the total elimination of the disease, Botswana drafted malaria case based surveillance guidelines.
"All malaria cases from disease-free areas will now be notified, investigated and all contacts of the case will be screened," he said. The country is further committed to ensure an increased diagnostics and ACT coverage to reach 100 percent of all malaria cases.
Seakgosing observed that the objective of the E8 Forum is in line with the Africa Malaria elimination campaign objective which takes into account the burden of malaria in the different regions of the continent.
He said this will call for the focus of malaria control and elimination
Speaking during the meeting, chairman of E8, Richard Nchabi Kamwi said since the establishment of the SADC elimination E8, progress has been made in the reduction of malaria mortality and morbidity in the region. He said the four countries; Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland who are targeted for elimination by 2015 have made enormous progress. More good news he said, results from recent malaria programme performance reviews that indicate that some provinces in Southern Zambia, Zimbabwe, southern districts in Angola, Mozambique, the highlands of Madagascar and Zanzibar may also move to elimination between 2015 and 2020.
He said SADC's integrated strategy of malaria is based on World Health Organisation recommendations as well as the SADC Malaria Strategic Framework 2007-2015, while the region's integrated vector control approach is built on a strong foundation of IRS and maintenance of IRS coverage rates using effective, safe and approved insecticides such as the DDT and others.