The 2017 Malaria Indicator Survey shows that the country is making strides in the fight against malaria, registering a decline in cases as well as an increase in the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs).
Secretary for Health Dan Namarika said the survey, which is a measure of the national malaria control efforts, shows a decline in malaria prevalence among children.
“According to the report, 24 percent of children aged between six and 59 months tested positive for malaria nationwide, a decline from 33 percent in 20I4.
“Malaria prevalence varies from as low as 11 percent in the Northern Region to 26 percent in both the Central and Southern regions,” he said in a statement accompanying the survey.
The survey indicates that prevention practices are on the rise as the ownership of ITNs and use have increased in the last five years from 55 percent of households in 2012 to 82 percent in 2017.
“Nearly two-thirds of households have access to an ITN, while 55 percent of the households slept under an ITN the night before the survey.
“Use of ITNs has improved since 2012 among high-risk groups, which are children under five years and pregnant women aged between 15 and 49.
Malawi Health Equity Network (Mehn) executive director George Jobe said it is a positive development that Malawi is making progress in fighting malaria.
He said this reflects the efforts which were bearing fruits.
“We need to continue fighting the good fight, especially to ensure that usage of mosquito nets increases. There is need to change the mindset of those who abuse mosquito nets by using them to cover their vegetable gardens as well as using them for fishing.
“Others have unfounded myths that mosquito nets cause barrenness in men and bring bed bugs in houses. The myths need to be wiped off people’s minds so that we completely get rid of this number one killer disease,” said Jobe.