Bicycles abet Fight against Malaria
The progressive decrease in malaria incidence in the past decade in the country saw the incidence in Matabeleland South province approaching pre-elimination levels as set by the World Health Organisation. Therefore the province became eligible to spearhead malaria pre-elimination activities. Noting that the bicycles came at an opportune time when the province is already intensifying pre-elimination strategies in line with the current National Malaria Control Programme Strategic Plan, provincial administrator, Mr. Khumalo urged service providers to “effectively use these bicycles for improving management of the malaria programme and all other health programmes in the province.”
The administrator, who was guest speaker at the ceremony, highlighted the important roles played by the community and the local leadership comprising chiefs councillors and headmen, in combating the spread of malaria. He emphasized the value of community outreach, advocacy and research as well as enhanced monitoring and evaluation in dealing with the malaria menace.
“We believe if the bicycles are effectively used they will contribute to the elimination of malaria in the province,” said Iolanda Fortes, who coordinates the UNDP-administered Global Fund to fight HIV/Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) grants in Zimbabwe.
Expressing gratitude to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare (MoHCW), which is the sub-recipient of the Global Fund grants, Ms. Fortes noted that UNDP “does not work in isolation” adding that UNDP works with the MoHCW and partners such as PLAN Zimbabwe, PSI, and the WHO in implementing the Global Fund programme in Zimbabwe.
In remarks read on his behalf by the provincial epidemiology and disease control officer, Dr. A. Svisva, the provincial medical director, Dr. W. Busumani explained that the province’s malaria burden is varied, with Beitbridge being the most affected of the 7 districts in the province.
“Of the total 678 confirmed cases reported in 2012, 82 per cent were from Beitbridge only. From January 2013, Beitbridge district alone has recorded 80 percent of the 153 cases that were reported.” The official highlighted that there has been a decline in the number of malaria-related deaths in the province—from19 in 2011 to 4 in 2012.
The UNDP has been the Principal Recipient of the GFATM grants since 2009 and has subsequently disbursed over US$418 million to combat HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in Zimbabwe.
Currently the malaria Single Stream of Funding grant which is running from April 2012 to December 2014 has a total of US $34million. The grant is focusing on achieving pre-elimination in the southern region—Matebeleland South Province and scaling up effective malaria prevention and control interventions in Zimbabwe.