–Pemba District Medical Officer, Brian Habasimbi, says he is optimistic that the implementation of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign against malaria in Southern province scheduled for November will reduce the malaria burden in Pemba.
Meanwhile, Pemba District Commissioner, Reginald Mugoba, says MDA is a positive exercise as it will reduce costs of government attending to patients and will also reduce unproductivity due to sickness.
Dr Habasimbi noted that cases of malaria were high during peak season especially in the eastern part of the district due to proximity to valley districts of Sinazongwe and Gwembe.
“You see, areas such as Siamuleya , Jembo, Kasikili, and Ndondi have malaria throughout the year and the type of malaria is unusual in that even those that do not appear sick test positive for malaria when Malaria Rapid Diagnostic tests (RDTs) are conducted,” he said.
Dr Habasimbi was speaking over the weekend during a community consultative meeting at Mukabanji Lodge in Chisekesi ahead of the implementation of MDA.
The meeting was organised by Malaria Control and Evaluation Partnership in Africa (MACEPA) – PATH in conjunction with Ministry of Health through National Malaria Control Centre.
The meeting was also seeking to bring various stakeholders in the district together in an attempt to create an understanding and address their concerns which would lead to smooth and successful implementation of MDA with a sense of ownership.
Dr Habasimbi said the MDA would complement the already-bearing fruits interventions that government, through the Malaria Control Centre, had been implementing such as the in-house residual spraying, distribution of mosquito nets and individual management of cases in clinics among others.
Speaking at the same meeting, MACEPA consultant, Victor Chalwe, assured the stakeholders that the drug was not something new but that it had been tried in other areas before and it worked.
“This drug is efficient and Zambia will procure and stock it in pharmacies after the MDA research has been conducted,” Dr Chalwe said.
And MACEPA Program Documentation Officer, Elizabeth Chiyende, explained that the Mass Drug Administration was a treatment of the entire population in a geographic area with a curative dose of an anti-malaria drug without first testing for infection regardless of the presence of symptoms to clear those not appearing sick and those symptomatic in order to create a malaria free zone.
Pemba is among the districts in Southern province where MDA will be implemented.
Gwembe,Sinazongwe,Zimba,Mazabuka,Chikankata,Kalomo,Monze,Choma,Chirundu and Siavonga are other districts on the line-up.