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Namibia has recorded 10,800 cases of malaria and 30 deaths since January this year. The national indoor residual spraying campaign has thus been launched at Okongo in Ohangwena, one of the regions vulnerable to malaria.

In 2021, the country recorded 13,732 cases of malaria.

So far this year, cases are lower with 6,696 having originated from the Zambezi, followed by Ohangwena with 1080, Kavango East with 864, and Kavango West with 648 cases.

"In the Ohangwena region for the same period year 2022, our surveillance system indicates that Engela district recorded the highest number of confirmed malaria cases of 540 amongst our 3 districts, followed by Eenhana, with 373, and then Okongo, with 163," explained Mateus Shikongo, Councillor for the Ongenga Constituency.

Ohangwena recorded 117 malaria admissions, while the Zambezi came in second with 159 admissions.

Community opposition to indoor residual spray has contributed to 2021's low national coverage of 23% versus an 85% target.

"I, therefore, urge all community leaders and community members to support the IRS campaign by allowing our health officials and spray operators to spray your houses," said Shikongo.

According to SADC Elimination-8 Ambassador and Former Health Minister Dr Richard Kamwi, malaria remains a major killer disease globally.

Dr Kamwi says the fight to eliminate malaria calls for coordination of activities. "We are all aware of the challenges ahead of us to eliminate malaria in the region by 2030 as prescribed in both the global targets and the E8 mandate. Namibia is among the front-lines and is well positioned to achieve this target because the malaria epidemiology is geographically defined and this has advantages, particularly if the cross-border initiative is enhanced."

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Tonateni Haimbodi