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TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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  • Volume 1

Lilongwe braces up for another season

By Callisto Sekeleza-Malawi

It’s the rainy season again in Lilongwe and in sub-urban locations like Mgona and Chimoka, rivulets can be seen in many parts as people, cars and animals scramble to use the same streets.

It gets worse when suddenly the rivulets develop into ponds along the roads and homes, making them breeding areas for mosquitoes. Popular among the mosquitoes are the Anopheles which are also renowned for transmitting the Plasmodium falciparum, a major cause of malaria in the country.

This is a common occurrence in many parts of Malawi during the rainy season when cases of malaria are more common.

According to the National Malaria Control Programme in Malawi, “vector abundance follows seasonal rainfall patterns, and an increase in temperatures raises the parasite’s reproductive rate, thereby influencing the prevalence rate of malaria in the population. Transmission is higher in areas with high temperatures during the rainy season (October through April), particularly along the lakeshore and lowland areas of the lower Shire Valley,”

In trying to find a solution to the menace, the University of North Carolina (UNC) Project in Lilongwe is once again conducting the Malaria Transmission Intensity Study (MTI) as a follow up to the one conducted last year.

The MTI is an epidemiology study aimed at assessing Plasmodium falciparum parasite prevalence and serological conversion rates in catchment areas of the RTS,S malaria vaccine phase III trial.

Apart from Lilongwe in Malawi the study is also being conducted in 10 sites in other six sub-Saharan countries of namely Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique andTanzania.

For Malawi, a total of 800 participants will be enrolled every year during the four seasons in which the study is supposed to be conducted.

And as this reporter accompanies a crew of three research workers in Mgona Area in Lilongwe, all he sees are optimistic motherly faces that are willing to participate in the study. Certainly mothers are usually the most affected especially when their kids are stricken by malaria.

“Please feel free to do all the necessary things you require for this malaria study,” says a participant mother who has allowed her two children to be pricked for blood samples which will be tested for malaria.

Other children and mothers in seven households are also tested on this particular day and it seems to be a rosy day for the crew.

However not all days are like this as there are challenges which the research teams usually face.

According to Leonard Dandalo, Study Co-ordinator for MTI, one of the challenges facing the study is relocation.

“Some of the locations in which we are conducting this study like Mgona and Chatata have got many seasonal workers especially in the tobacco factories. During sampling, we come up with a number of households to be visited but when it comes to the actual time of study, we find out that most of the people have moved away since it’s also off peak season for the tobacco factories,” he says, adding that this causes delays as they still have to visit a specific number of households.

He said when faced by such scenarios, they have often been advised by the GlaxoSmithKline, sponsor of the study, to visit other households which are close to those which were sampled the first time.

Dandalo also says that another challenge they have faced in the course of the study is refusals by the clients from the enlisted households to talk to the field workers.

“The main issue is the drawing of blood as it has been during the malaria vaccine trial. However we are conducting sensitization meetings so that the people are fully aware of the study and not take into account all the falsehood some people choose to spread,” says Dandalo.

MTI is a one day visit study and in Lilongwe it is backed by a team of 9 field workers who are divided into three teams. Each team comprises two field workers and a nurse.

Lilongwe site conducted the first year survey from May to June, 2011 and the second year survey started on3rd February, 2012.

Indeed the rainy season is here again and so are the mosquitoes. There is hope however that in the not too distant future the streets of Lilongwe will no longer serve as breeding grounds for insects so mosquitoes can be kept at bay.

 

 

 

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