Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda says malaria remains a major public health problem in the country as the disease is killing an average of five people a day.
Briefing journalists in Lilongwe on Monday on the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Malaria Week which is commemorated in the second week of November, she said despite the deaths, Malawi has reduced episodes or cases of malaria from 6.1 million in 2016 to 4.2 million in 2022.
The minister said malaria deaths have also reduced from 4 000 in 2016 to 1 829 in 2022, representing a 54.3 percent decrease.
Said Chiponda: “The message from these figures is that in the World Health Oorganisation [WHO] African region, including the Sadc region and in our country, malaria remains a huge public health problem.
“It is taking a heavy toll on our health systems, weakening productivity of our citizens thereby reducing economic growth at both household and national levels, causing economic stagnation in the region and loss of life in the Sadc region and in our country Malawi.”
She said malaria accounts for 19 percent of all out-patient department visits and nine percent of all admissions to the country’s hospitals, creating a huge workload to healthcare workers and exerting pressure on drugs in the health facilities.
Speaking in an interview, World Vision Malawi’s Global Fund Grant chief of party Biziwick Mwale called for collective efforts in implementing preventive measures to eliminate malaria by 2030.
He said they are receiving positive results in districts such as Mangochi, Balaka, Nkhotakota and Nkhata Bay where they are spraying insecticides in houses. He said this has resulted in a decline of malaria cases and deaths in these districts.
The Sadc Malaria Week is being commemorated under the theme ‘Resilient health systems and communities key to malaria elimination’. The week will also run under the slogan ‘Timely access to malaria services, everyone’s right’.