S. Africa vows to be malaria free by 2018

Updated: 2016-04-25 18:30


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CAPE TOWN -- South Africa joined the world in commemorating the World Malaria Day on Monday, pledging to eliminate the disease by 2018.

South Africa was taking advantage of the World Malaria Day to raise awareness on malaria prevention and to focus on the achievements, progress and challenges in the fight against malaria, the Department of Health said.

The department has embarked on awareness and educational campaigns that include radio campaigns, community events, door to door campaigns and distribution of pamphlets at shopping centres before and during the World Malaria day.

South Africa plans to eliminate malaria by achieving an incidence of zero cases of locally transmitted malaria by 2018.

The Department of Health said it has been very successful in reducing the malaria incidence in South Africa and has met the malaria targets of the Millennium Development Goal.

South Africa registered 11, 700 cases of the disease in 2014, down from 64, 000 in 2000 with most diagnoses coming from areas bordering Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

In a report marking the World Malaria Day, the World Heath Organization (WHO) said that through targeted action and cross-border collaboration, South Africa has the potential to eliminate malaria by 2020.

WHO estimates that 21 countries are in a position to achieve this goal, including six countries in the African Region, where the burden of the disease is the heaviest.

These countries are Algeria, Botswana, Cape Verde, Comoros, South Africa and Swaziland.

Malaria in South Africa is seasonal, with transmission occurring between September and May in geographical areas of Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces. It is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes, which generally bite at night. Malaria is preventable, treatable and curable.

Early symptoms of malaria are fever, headache, chills and muscular pains.

Members of the public are advised to seek medical attention if they experience the above symptoms.