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New hope in malaria fight

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By Eric Msikiti:

MCCANN— There is an additional control measure provided through house improvement

Findings of a trial on prevention of malaria indicate that house improvement could help reduce incidences of malaria.

The trial, which the Majete Malaria Project (MMP) conducted, suggests that gaps some house builders leave between the roof and wall serve as an entry point for the female anopheles mosquito, which spreads malaria.

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The practice of creating gaps is said to be rampant in the Shire Valley district of Chikwawa, among other areas.

But one of the community members in Chikwawa District, Jonathan Mlilima, said high temperatures force them to leave gaps between the roof and the wall “to allow for free circulation of air”.

MMP Team Leader, Rob McCann, said house improvement could complement efforts which stakeholders are making to control cases of malaria infection.

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“What we found in the trial is that interventions that have been put in place by the government, notably the use of bed nets, are very effective but we also found that there is an additional control measure provided through house improvement.

“By that, we mean working with communities to change the structure of their houses to close entry points for mosquitoes so that there is reduced contact between mosquitoes and people living in those houses,” McCann said.

McCann was speaking during a dissemination workshop for trial results.

The findings come at a time Malawi stands accused of being on the list of 20 African nations with the highest incidences of malaria.

Malawi made a commitment to halve incidences and deaths resulting from malaria by 2022.

Chikwawa District Medical Officer, Wamaka Msopole, described the findings as timely.

He said malaria is one of diseases burdening the district despite efforts stakeholders are making to stem the tide of malaria infections.

“We are on the right track to halve incidences and deaths resulting from Malaria by 2022 but we, as a district, are still registering cases of malaria infection.

“In fact, malaria accounts for 14 percent of patients we admit to all health facilities in Chikwawa District. It is also one of the major causes of death in under-five children. So, we hope that, with trials like the one MMP embarked on, we will win the battle against malaria,” Msopole said.

The trial targeted 8,000 households in areas surrounding Majete Game Reserve in Chikwawa District.

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