Head of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Malaria Program, Mr. Albino Bobogare told local media last week Friday that Honiara including Malaita, Central Islands, Guadalcanal and Temotu Provinces are currently experiencing increases in the number of malaria and dengue cases but not outbreak.
He explained that for Dengue, there is only an outbreak when there is a new strain circulating. “Currently the type 2 dengue which is already in country is circulating and detected in all samples tested for dengue so far”, said Mr. Bobogare.
He explained that increased transmission could be due to the current wet season and recent heavy down pours that accumulate waters in containers, banana trunks, 44 gallon drums and uncovered water tanks that provides perfect breeding spots for dengue mosquitoes to multiply.
For Malaria Mr. Bobogare said that the increase is due to recent low stocks of medicines including anti malaria drugs which the ministry is replenishing, poor compliance to treatment of Vivax malaria with primaquine by patients. “Vivax accounts for around 60 percent of our malaria cases in the country in 2022. The main provinces with increasing cases include Honiara, Central Islands, Malaita, and Temotu provinces”, said Mr. Bobogare.
Responding to supplementary question, Mr. Bobogare said that usually before the wet season, 1st and 2nd quarter of the year, Vector Borne Disease Control program conducts malaria spray and every three years, distributes mosquito bed nets nationwide with recent mass distribution completed last year.
“With spraying we could not do it in time due to COVID-19 pandemic last year that delayed the importation and shipment of chemicals needed for mass spraying. Nevertheless, we are preparing now to conduct mass spraying for malaria and dengue mosquitoes in communities and also at household level”,
He encouraged families to make use of the bed nets distributed when sleeping at night. “Those who have access to mortein spray and mosquito coils, please use them to kill and chase away mosquitoes. Continuous clean up around household and emptying of containers, and drums of water including items with water holding capacity to stop breeding of the mosquitoes”, said Mr. Bobogare.
Mr Bobogare advised that if fever, headache, join pain and nausea is experienced, it is important to get tested for Malaria. He strongly advised that those who tested positive for Malaria to complete their dose and if advised for 14 days dose of primaquine, it must be taken to completion as well and drink plenty of water and eat vegetables and greens during the period of dosage.
Recent midterm review of the Malaria program by the Ministry of Health with support from partners such as Global Fund, DFAT, etc notes increased number of malaria cases over the past years with recommendations to address issues pertaining to the health systems as long terms solutions to achieving elimination of Malaria in Solomon Islands.
Based on the review and discussions, the Ministry will work with its partners to address commodity stock outs and financing constraints and improve human resource allocation amongst other decisions and actions to undertake.
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