Malaria-related deaths decreased by 32 percent in the 2010/2011, mainly due to interventions among pregnant women and under five children, but the disease remains a leading killer among women and children, Vice-President Khumbo Kachali has said.
Kachali, who is also Minister of Health, was speaking at the launch of nationwide distribution of 5.4 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets at Mbululumbuzi in Chiradzulu on Saturday.
He said continued investments in the sector would help mitigate the challenges malaria brings into the health sector.
“So far, we have made the gains, including a decline of 32 percent in deaths and a further 33 percent [decrease] in incidents of malaria. But the risk is still there and we need to adhere to basic prevention strategies as advised by health personnel,” said Kachali.
There are up to four million cases of malaria recorded by the Ministry of Health annually and between 4 000 and 5 000 deaths annually from the disease which is preventable through use of bed nets.
United States Ambassador Jeanine Jackson said her government is committed to supporting government through the US Presidentâ€™s Malaria Initiative to ensure that pregnant women and under-five children do not catch malaria.
“PMI will contribute up to 900 000 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to be distributed in Lilongwe rural as part of this universal net access campaign. Since 2007, PMI has procured about five million nets, trained 46 000 people in malaria prevention and treatment, procured nearly 15 million anti-malaria treatments,” said Jackson.
Malaria still accounts for up to 40 percent of hospital admissions and visits.
Malawiâ€™s Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali said they want to provide a net for every two Malawians through the campaign.