Zambia sees 37 percent surge in malaria cases last year

(MENAFN) Zambia witnessed a significant surge in malaria cases, with a staggering 37 percent year-on-year increase reported by the country's health minister, Sylvia Masebo, on Sunday. The number of malaria cases rose from 8.1 million in 2022 to a concerning 11.1 million in 2023, highlighting the escalating burden of the disease on the nation's healthcare system and population.

In addition to the rise in malaria cases, Zambia also experienced a notable uptick in malaria-related fatalities, with a 19 percent increase reported from 1,343 deaths in 2022 to 1,602 deaths in 2023. This translates to an alarming daily infection rate of 30,400 citizens and an average of four deaths per day attributed to malaria, underscoring the severe impact of the disease on public health and mortality rates in the country.

“It is even more disheartening that 18 percent of these infections were in children under the age of five years and 1 percent were pregnant women,” Masebo informed journalists in the capital Lusaka.

Masebo highlighted Zambia's proactive measures in addressing the disease, noting that the National Malaria Elimination Center had successfully distributed over 11.6 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets throughout the nation as part of targeted interventions to combat malaria.

“This translates into the protection of 23.2 million people with this intervention. However, I must emphasize that having or owning a mosquito net is one thing; the game-changer is the actual use. For these mosquito nets to be effective, they must be used correctly and consistently, every night and throughout the year,” she declared.

Masebo also pointed out that through an indoor residual spraying program, 742,057 eligible structures had been sprayed, providing protection to more than 3.4 million individuals with this vector control intervention.

On Thursday, Zambia will participate in the global observance of World Malaria Day, aligning with the international theme of "Gender, Health, Equity, and Human Rights." The accompanying slogan for this year's commemoration is "Accelerating the fight against malaria for a more equitable world."



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