The Department of Health in Mpumalanga commemorated the Southern African Development (SADC) Community Malaria week from the 5th – 9th November 2018 in Bushbuckridge. “We are commemorating SADC Malaria week where all the countries in the southern region of Africa are taking part in similar events through educating and raising awareness about malaria,” said Sharon Nyoni, Co-ordinator for Malaria control unit in the Bushbuckridge sub-district.
“Bushbuckridge was identified as the area of concern in the Mpumalanga province; therefore we have come up with a week’s programme for the awareness of malaria within the localities under the sub-district based on our information on malaria,” She added.
Wales, Craig burn, Rooiboklagte, Green valley and Arthur seat were identified by the health department as areas of concern, “we are doing a door-to-door awareness whereby the health promotion team, malaria team, home based care, tribal authorities and other stakeholders join hands to deal with malaria within the mentioned communities for the duration of this week, with the aim of preventing malaria related death cases in the province,” Nyoni said.
She further told Bushbuckridge News that, most death cases relating to malaria are due to delays by people who have malaria as they take time to be treated due to lack of knowledge about malaria. She further alluded that people form stereotypes of witchcraft due to lack of knowledge when they get sick from malaria, which is one of the reasons we are here today to educate people about malaria.
Last year South Africa experienced malaria outbreak in many communities, and Bushbuckridge was one of the highest areas affected by malaria compared to other sub-districts in the province. “What people must know is that malaria kills, but it can also be prevented and be cured.” She concluded.
Venecia Mlambo, ward councillor of ward 22 told Bushbuckridge News, “As the ward councillor of this ward, I am very happy to welcome the department of health here today. I hope we won’t have any malaria-related deaths in our community in the future because our people really needed this education. We had death cases in the past whereby when you ask the death cause, the symptoms are exactly those of malaria, but then due to lack of knowledge our people were not aware and attributed such deaths to witchcraft, so I am hopeful that from today onwards we won’t face similar challenges.”
Malaria symptoms include; dizziness, nausea, flu-like symptoms, vomiting, swollen joints and others. Residents are urged to visit their nearest clinics should they come across such symptoms.