Namibia: Mosquito Spraying Programme Nearly Complete

Chrispin Inambao | 04 Mar 2008
New Era (Windhoek)

A Ministry of Health and Social Services mosquito spraying programme intended to reduce the impact of malaria among the 90000 residents of Caprivi is almost complete with Katima Mulilo Urban the only constituency that has not been sprayed.

Year in and year out, an unspecified number of people succumb to the fatal mosquito-borne disease while thousands of its victims become bed-ridden for weeks because of malaria.

Assistant Health Inspector at the Katima Mulilo Town Council, Frederick Sezuni, tasked with overseeing the Health and Social Services-funded programme said recent widespread torrential rains prevented his team from spraying several residential areas at the town.

Sezuni said up to 75000 households in Kabbe, Katima Rural, Linyanti, Kongola and Sibbinda have been sprayed with DDT from last October until January.

Sezuni told New Era that some of the households among the 10000 units in Katima Mulilo Urban would be sprayed with 11000 litres of delthrine as of this week.

The team was initially supposed to spray Katima Mulilo Urban from January 23 to 31 but according to Sezuni, the mission ended up being aborted because of incessant rains.

When asked whether lodges would also benefit from the malaria preventive strategy, the health official said: "We normally ignore them because they can procure own pesticides."

He said all the walls and the ceilings of the targeted houses are sprayed with chemicals and recently the team embarked on a parallel malaria intervention measure called 'larviciding'.

"It is a method of killing young mosquitoes that are breeding in swamps and in stagnant water. We are using a chemical called abate," he said.

Before the highly effective chemical is poured into a swamp or in stagnant water the officials measure its size normally in square metres and after it has been sprayed into a particular pond, it lasts for a period of up to 42 weeks though it is harmless to both domestic animals and humans. Some areas in both Kabbe and Katima Rural constituencies are high-risk malaria areas characterised by high average temperatures, high rainfall and humidity and perennial rivers. All these conditions are conducive for mosquito breeding and parasite development. Social Marketing Association (SMA) is a non-governmental organization actively involved in malaria prevention in Caprivi with monthly sales of up to 2 000 pre-treated Supernet Plus mosquito nets for either N$23 or N$28 each.

Over 3000 children die from malaria each day in sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Malaria is an intermittent fever caused by a protozoan parasite that invades the red blood cells. Female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles transmit the parasite in tropical and even in subtropical regions.