Thursday, October 18, 2012

Malaria deaths on the rise in Africa

Richard Muponde in NewsDay (Zimbabwe): At least 655 000 people died of malaria out of 216 million cases in Africa in 2010 due to increased breeding of mosquitoes as a result of warm temperatures and increased rainfall in some parts of the continent, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has said.

The organisation released the information at the ongoing second session of African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology in Victoria Falls yesterday. WMO said there was need to carry out malaria mitigation strategies by African countries to reduce the death toll.

“Malaria mitigation strategies require a combination of preventative and curative treatment and close collaboration between the health and climate sectors. Countries increasingly incorporate early detections in their malaria control efforts. This entails careful monitoring of climate conditions favouring pending outbreak,” WMO said in a statement.

The organisation said timely provisions of climate information with several months lead-time could be combined with well-targeted response strategies that provide distribution of medication, insecticides and bed nets to vulnerable communities.

“The malaria early warning systems combines seasonal rainfall forecasts with vulnerability assessments and population and health surveillance information. Examination of climatic variables which influence the proliferation of mosquitoes facilitates the prediction of potential outbreaks. The technique gives health programme officers up to four months of advance notice,” the WMO said....

The malaria plasmodium, shot by Ute Frevert; false color by Margaret Shear, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license

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