Malawi government decision to distribute 9 million mosquito nets has ignited a fresh debate on whether this system is an effective way of dealing with malaria, a disease blamed for the high rate of under five children deaths.
Adrian Chikumbe, ministry of Health spokesperson is urging families to register with officials to ensure they get a mosquito net.
He says the mosquito nets will be distributed across the country.
Health issue commentator Maziko Matemba welcomes the move but cautions that the government should ensure some men are not using the nets to catch fish.
At least 4:6 million people suffered from malaria in Malawi most of them under five children and pregnant women.
The distribution of the nets comes at a time when there is severe shortage of malaria drugs in hospitals.
However, some health experts are calling on the government to roll out an ambitious but effective programme to spray DDT in all mosquito breeding places, saying this has been effective in Botswana and South Africa, among some countries in Africa which record zero malaria rate.
They argue that most Malawians get malaria not when they are in bed where the nets are used but before bed time this is why the malaria rate infection still remains high despite the government effort to give out free mosquito nets which helps to give a sound sleep without mosquito bites but it’s not the effective way of controlling the killer disease.
However, DDT banned in Malawi because agriculture experts say it remains in soil for many years after use and has negative effect on croos, including Malawuls top foreign export earner, tobacco.
Hard choice for government to make.
Meanwhile, after the suspension of 63 Ministry of Health workers over alleged misuse of funds meant for Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded HIV project, the US government has suspended the supply of malaria drugs and support to some 10 centres, citing theft and mismanagement.
The US, through its Public Affair Officer at the American Embassy in Malawi, Joseph Monster, is quoted in the Daily Times saying:“…We have identified 10 facilities where reported cases of malaria are far exceeded by the doses of anti-malarial medications distributed and have notified the Ministry of Health that additional malaria-related medicines and supplies will not be provided to those facilities until the Ministry takes concrete steps to curb theft and mismanagement.”
He stressed that the appropriate steps the ministry has to take before the drug supply resumes includes “both disciplinary action and prosecution where sufficient evidence exists”, which means the Ministry has to move quickly to catch the thieves or risk unnecessary malaria deaths in the 10 facilities.
Monster said the US government continues to be concerned with the theft and mismanagement of medical supplies and medicines meant to benefit the people of Malawi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :