Balaka, September 29, Mana: Balaka District Health Office (DHO) has registered a decrease in malaria cases, thanks to Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) program.
This was revealed by National Social Behaviour Change Communication Manager for World Vision Malawi, Pascal Madhlopa who described IRS program as effective.
“The use of Indoor Residual Spray to kill mosquitos is an effective Malaria intervention, no wonder it is highly recommended to be used in high malaria burden areas as on top of its effectiveness it is also inexpensive,” said Madhopa.
World Vision Malawi with funding from Global Fund, and Ministry of health in 2020 initiated a five-year program in Mangochi, Balaka and Nkhatabay with the aim of killing infestation of anopheles mosquito that transmits malaria.
According to report from Balaka district hospital, the district registered 76, 753 malaria cases between the months of January and June this year compared to 99, 108 that were registered during the corresponding period last year, representing about a 12.5 percent decrease.
Madhlopa, therefore, urged chiefs in the district to play a leading role in raising awareness among communities on the need of embracing IRS.
“Though we made tremendous progress in reducing malaria cases, concerted efforts will be crucial as we had challenges of refusal among some household to accept the campaign.
“There are some myths and misconceptions that people have towards IRS hence involving chiefs will be crucial as they will help us to clear out such issues by disseminating relevant information that enables people to make informed decisions,” he said.
On her part, Health Promotional Officer (HPO) for Balaka DHO, Mercy Nyirenda echoed Madhlopa, saying chiefs have a big role to play for the program to achieve its intended goals.
Nyirenda said besides engaging the chiefs, Balaka DHO has lined up other activities including door to door mobilization with an aim of addressing their concerns at interpersonal level.
While commending the strides that IRS has made, Inkosi Chanthunya of Balaka said some challenges including community refusal to accept the initiative was due to poor participation among chiefs.
“I know this is the second year this programme is being implemented, but previously chiefs were not fully involved hence people had little knowledge of the campaign.