The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM) on Saturday joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Malaria Day.
The ELCM event held in Zomba started with a five-kilometre walk from Mulunguzi Secondary School Turn–Off to the district commissioner’s office where they presented a malaria response petition.
ELCM’s bishop Joseph Bvumbwe said they decided to include the walk in the commemoration to show the church’s commitment to curbing malaria in the country.
Bvumbwe said malaria is preventable and curable, but at the moment it continues to kill many under–five children and pregnant women due to health caregivers’ lack of knowledge and resources, especially in the remote areas.
The bishop said some health surveillance assistants (HSAs) in rural areas—where there are few or no trained medical clinicians—just after looking at patients, without examining them, advise them to start taking malaria drugs, a development that poses threat to lives of people.
The petition calls on government to strengthen village clinics operated by the HSAs through training and providing relevant rapid diagnostic test (RDT) equipment to help the HSAs to diagnose malaria in patients.
The petition also advises government to allocate adequate funding in the 2015–2016 for scaling up indoor residual spreading (IRS) as a strategy of vector control in high transmission areas with a focus on the mosquito-infested Lake Chilwa Basin.
“We believe that in addition to other interventions in malaria prevention and control, investing in vector control through IRS in all high malaria transmission and scaling up of RDTs in village clinics would go a long way in eliminating malaria and the attainment of the malaria-free Malawi we need,” he said.
Speaking after receiving the petition, the district’s director of administration Hastings Mlambuzi pledged assured that the petition would be given to relevant authorities for action. He appealed to other stakeholders to engage communities in malaria prevention and treatment.