Zambia aims to reduce by 75% malaria deaths by 2011 -- a goal that could be achievable based on results from control efforts during the last three years -- Canisius Banda, a ministry of health spokesperson, said on Sunday in Lusaka, Zambia, during the Southern African Development Community's malaria week, the Times of Zambia reports.
Banda said that Zambia's goal is to provide 60% of the population with insecticide-treated nets, adding that about 42% of the population already is covered. The government will distribute three million ITNs by the end of 2007, the Times of Zambia reports.
The government also has exceeded its goal of supplying 60% of pregnant women with preventive malaria drugs, Banda said. In addition, Zambia has secured four million doses of the artemisinin-based combination therapy Coartem, according to Banda. He asked the public to support indoor insecticide-spraying efforts and addressed claims that spraying is unsafe.
According to Banda, malaria control efforts in Zambia are focusing on strengthening diagnostic methods because some health workers have become accustomed to treating all fevers as malaria cases. Accurate diagnosis is important, Banda said, adding that mistakes can lead to misuse of drugs.
According to Banda, 21 million people out of a total population of 139 million in the SADC region contract malaria annually, and about 300,000 people die from the disease in the region each year.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation