Maputo — The number of cases of malaria in Mozambique, and of deaths from the disease, worsened substantially in 2014, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health, cited in the independent daily “O Pais”.
5,485,327 cases of malaria were diagnosed in 2014 - an alarming leap of 38 per cent over the 2013 figure of 3.9 million. The current estimate of the size of the Mozambican population is 25.7 million - so more than a quarter of the population suffered a bout of malaria last year.
The number of known malaria deaths rose from 2,941 in 2013 to 3,245 last year, a 10.3 per cent increase. Malaria thus remains the leading cause of death in Mozambican health units.
The rise in malaria is despite substantial government expenditure on combating the disease - and particularly combating the mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite. In 2014, 5.1 million insecticide treated mosquito nets were acquired at a cost of 625.8 million meticais (about 18 million US dollars). Another 42.2 million meticais was spent on acquiring insecticides for house spraying campaigns.
The province worst hit by malaria is Zambezia, where 55.2 per cent of the entire population was infected by the malaria parasite. It was followed by the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado (43.7 per cent) and Nampula (42.2 per cent).
The south of the county is the area least affected by the disease. In Gaza province, 12.6 per cent of the population were infected, in Maputo province 4.8 per cent, and in Maputo city 2.5 per cent.
This is perhaps partly because southern Mozambique is much drier than the central and northern provinces, and thus provides less favourable conditions for mosquitoes. But also, under the “Limbombo Development Spatial Initiative”, there has been a combined effort against malaria by Mozambique.
South Africa and Swaziland in the border areas, which health officials believe greatly reduced transmission of the disease.
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