Malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Malawi, especially among pregnant women and children aged under 5 years. The Health management information system data indicates that malaria accounts for 40% of all outpatient visits in Malawi.
Mchinji district has a population of over half a Million people and served by 17 health facilities. In 2016/17 financial year alone over 40,000 confirmed malaria cases were recorded with 106 of them dying as inpatients.
To ensure that there’s increased knowledge of Malaria prevention and control, PACHI is implementing a malaria social and behaviors change project in three traditional authorities in Mchinji towards reduction of maternal, newborn and child mortality. Malaria cases can be improved by increasing demand for quality health services through improved access and utilization of malaria prevention and control services.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Hence the use of mosquito nets control the transmission of the plasmodiam from one person to another through mosquito bites thereby reduce morbidity due to malaria.
Mchinji joined the world Malaria community in commemorating World Malaria Day 2018 at Bisikop grounds in Mkanda under the theme “determined to beat malaria”. The commemoration event took place on May 9, 2018.
Guests and a crowd of approximately 2,000 people were entertained through traditional dances and drama skits by theatre for development groups with emphasis on the benefits of sleeping under a mosquito net as well as testing and treating Malaria.
The district deputy malaria coordinator Anderson Chimbizi demonstrated the use of Long Lasting Treated nets distributed to mothers and children below five years.
Anderson Chimbizi demonstrating the use of nets
Speaking at the commemoration event, Guest of Honor, Chairperson of Mchinji District Council Edison Josiah urged chiefs to set up by-laws that may help people in communities to start using mosquito nets for their intended purpose as it is that many use them for fishing or making gardens. “Today we’ve sensitized community leaders to take charge in preventing community members from misusing nets, we believe setting up by-laws is vital to the right use of mosquito nets thereby resulting into low number of malaria cases reported”
Guest of honor delivering a speech
The Chief Executive Officer for PACHI, Charles Makwenda highlighted that malaria is preventable and curable despite cultural beliefs being one of the barriers in the fight against Malaria. “Communities should be aware that malaria disease is curable and preventable, that alone removes habits or beliefs of acceptance towards malaria prevention” He added
The message from District Health Office was delivered by District Medical Officer, Mary Chimseu on behalf of the district Health Officer. She underscored and the need of seeking medical care on the onset of malaria signs and symptom in order to make greater strides against malaria.
Other guests who spoke included the Traditional authority for Mkanda.
PACHI with funding from USAID through ONSE health is implementing the Malaria Social Behaviour change project to decrease malaria morbidity and mortality especially among women, children and the marginalized populations in Mchinji district.