LIMPOPO – United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) Goodwill Ambassador and acclaimed singer and songwriter, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, has partnered with the Department of Health under the tutelage of MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba to fight the escalation of malaria infection in Limpopo with precision and distinction.
The two provinces will also benefit from the Global Fund which has partnered with South African-born initiative Goodbye Malaria, and the governments of Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland. Abbreviated as (Mosaswa), the initiative is billed to combat malaria in southern Africa.
The Global Fund has therefore awarded a grant totalling $9,78 million (or over R130 million) to the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative 2 (LSDI2), which is a Goodbye Malaria initiative.
“We can win the fight against malaria,” said Chaka Chaka during a recent visit to to Hinkesile Secondary School in Xitlakati village outside Dzumeri.
“We need to educate our people about the importance of creating and maintaining healthy environments in our homes. We need to make sure our children live in a healthy and clean environment because cleanliness leads to a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
She pleaded with the royal leaders, community and political leaders to involve the youth in educating people.
“Malaria is caused by a plasmodium parasite and is one of the most dangerous diseases today.” Delivering a keynote address, Ramathuba, who is also a Provincial Secretary for the South African Communist Party (SACP) in Limpopo, said Limpopo encountered 1 200 cases of malaria in the first week of May.
Ramathuba said in order to prevent mosquito bites and the spread of malaria, residents must allow their homes to be fumigated by officials from the Malaria Control Programme.
The outspoken MEC urged people to help win the fight against malaria by using mosquito repellents, burning mosquito coils, using aerosol sprays, wearing long-sleeved clothing, sleeping inside a mosquito net, getting rid of stagnant water and rushing to the nearest health facility for help as soon as the symptoms of malaria appear.
Unconfirmed reports revealed that more than 11 people died of malaria in the Nwa-mitwa area since Good Friday and that more patients are fighting for their lives in the intensive care units of various hospitals in and around Giyani and Tzaneen.
Chief Director for Clinical Support Services, Phillip Kruger, singled out three hospitals: Donald Fraser, Malamulele, and Nkensani as hospitals with the most cases of malaria infection. Kruger said Limpopo and Mpumalanga had the worst cases of malaria prevalence.
He said Mozambique reported more than three million malaria cases this year.
“The prevalence of malaria started early this year but escalated during the Good Friday weekend and dropped when winter began,” he said.