EKURHULENI – Tembisa residents have been targeted by health officials in a pre-Christmas push to test people for malaria and make them aware of the need to protect themselves ahead of time if they are planning to head into malaria risk areas over the holidays.
The malaria awareness campaign saw many people being tested for the parasitic disease. The campaign is part of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) efforts to prevent and treat malaria.
Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) health promoter, Zama Cebekhulu, said that they targeted Swazi Inn, a busy market in Tembisa, because it was frequented by foreign nationals from countries such as Mozambique.
“There are a lot of Mozambiquan nationals who have businesses in this area. We want to make them aware that there is a travel clinic where they can get the malaria prophylaxis before they go home for the December holidays.”
Cebekhulu also said that the lack of knowledge about the existence of the travel clinic in Germiston was a contributing factor to people not getting vaccinated before travelling to malaria high-risk areas.
“Travellers do not know that the clinic offers free services where they can get the prophylaxis. The drugs are also accessible through a prescription from the doctor. But they are quite expensive and most people who travel to malaria risk areas do not have financial resources.”
The signs and symptoms of malaria are fever, headache, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, sweating, shivering, pains in the back, joints and all over the body.
One of the people tested for malaria was Somali national, Mursal Samatar (34).
“I recently travelled home to bury a relative, and I did not get vaccinated for malaria so I need to check if I do not have the disease.”
The Department of Health’s 2018 proposed draft on the distribution of malaria explains that Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces are malaria risk areas in South Africa. Where malaria transmission is mainly seasonal and closely related to the rainy season, it can actually occur at any time of the year. – Heath-e News.