Malawi moves to combat malaria as rainy season approaches

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Malawi, Northern Region, Rumphi, Health Surveillance Assistant (HSA) Bruno Banda checks the breathing rate of 2 year old Grace NKhoma who is diagnosed with malaria. Grace takes LA assisted by her mother Christina Phiri. (Photo by Anthony ASAEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
A Health Surveillance Assistant (HSA) checks the breathing rate of 2 year old girl who is diagnosed with malaria in Northern Malawi. (Photo by Anthony ASAEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The government of Malawi with the help of the World Health Organization is administering the malaria vaccine to children under the age of three to protect them from the disease.

The vaccine is now being provided to children through the routine immunization services of the Ministry of Health in Malawi.

The vaccine has been a relief to many people along the Shire Valley in Chikwawa district where malaria cases are always rampant.

In an interview with Xinhua, Dorica Ephraim, a mother of two children, listed some of the efforts that she has been doing to protect her family from the disease.

According to Mrs. Ephraim, mosquito bites in her home district usually reach extreme levels during the months of October, November, and December due to rainy stagnant water that offers a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Mrs. Ephram suffered from malaria last year, and this disturbed her daily productivity.

“Malaria disturbed my work routine. I did not have the energy to go farming and I could not even manage to collect water for my home. I had to go to the clinic where I was diagnosed with malaria,” she said.

Meanwhile, health experts in Malawi are embarking on sensitizing communities on the right use of mosquito nets and a timely immunization to children.

According to Henry Kadzuwa, a local health surveillance assistant in Malawi’s ministry of health, treating malaria takes up a good portion of their time during the rainy season.

He says, health officials go out and about sensitizing people on the importance of sticking to the traditional means of preventing mosquito bites that bring malaria. “Even though there is a malaria vaccine, there is a need for people to maintain observing preventive measures of Malaria, like sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets.”

Malaria is endemic in Malawi and transmission is higher in areas with high temperatures and low altitude particularly along the lakeshore and lowland areas of the Lower Shire Valley.

Malawi, along with other African countries including Kenya and Ghana, is administering a malaria vaccine until 2021.

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