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Malaria Ravages Tswapong, Palapye Regions

PINI BOTHOKO
The Tswapong North region, Maunatlala, Lerala and surrounding villages are leading in numbers of malaria cases recorded by the Palapye Hospital since recent torrential rains. So far two people have died from Malaria and 27 cases registered by the Palapye Hospital that oversees the region.

Responding to The Monitor questionnaire, Palapye Primary School Hospital’s public relations officer Mpho Modibedi said the affected villages are Lerala, Maunatlala, Ratholo, Moeng, Topisi, Mokokwana/Mosweu, Dikabea lands and Palapye. Maunatlala is home to countless streams that run through the village emptying into the Lotsane River. 

About three weeks ago, the Maunatlala clinic alone registered five cases of malaria although officials were not at liberty to confirm the statistics, referring The Monitor to their Palapye superiors.

Lerala is also home to a lake that health authorities blame for providing a conducive environment for malaria.  The Palapye health authorities say besides the lake, recent rains resulted in large pools of water and tall vegetation. Modibedi said the increasing number of cases is worrisome to Palapye District Health Management Team (DHMT).

“Maunatlala has registered five cases from December 2016 to February 2017, two cases from Mokokwana/Mosweu village and one from Dikabea lands. Lerala has since registered eight cases, four of the cases are from Moatshe ward and three cases reported in December 2016 and one in February 2017,” Modibedi said. She stated that Palapye has registered six cases from various wards and they expect more cases. 

“This is due to the fact that we are still midway through the transmission season and we are anticipating more rains as per the weather forecast,” Modibedi said.

She cited that the presence of a vector (mosquito), the parasite and a conducive environment is placing everyone

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at a high risk of contacting malaria. Modibedi revealed that while they have Lotsane River, as one of the largest water bodies in the village, it may not necessarily be the preferred breeding site for malaria vector because mosquito prefers stagnant water with less disturbances to its life cycle. She said Palapye DHMT continues to monitor the situation by ensuring all cases are treated and preventive measures are also strengthened. Modibedi said intense community mobilisation has been done through kgotla meetings at both Lerala and Maunatlala. Private practitioners have also been updated and sensitised on malaria situation in Serowe and Palapye during a one-day workshop organised by DHMT.

Modibedi said this is also one of the preventive measures that strengthen relations between Government and private practitioners to eliminate malaria. Modibedi said DHMT has also ensured that malaria medications are available including the Rapid Diagnostic Kit. “When having a headache, diarrhoea, pain all over the body, sweating and nausea we urge the public to visit the nearest health facility,” Modibedi said.

In Botswana, there are six malaria endemic districts.  These are Tutume, Okavango, Chobe, Ngami, Boteti and Bobirwa. These districts report malaria cases annually during the transmission season from October - April. Malaria transmission is seasonal and closely related to rainfall.

  Palapye sub-district is not an endemic district it is however in an intermediate transmission belt often reporting sporadic cases of malaria, Modibedi stated.



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