Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique
Mozambican Health Minister Francisco Songane reaffirmed on Monday that malaria remains the single largest cause of death in the country.
Songane was speaking in Maputo at a meeting between Ministry of Health specialists and cooperation partners under the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) programme.
In Mozambique RBM has since last year brought together the Health Ministry, religious bodies, companies and practitioners of traditional medicine in activities to combat malaria.
The Ministry's figures indicate that about 30 per cent of all hospital deaths are caused by malaria: the death toll is particularly high among children and pregnant women who contract the disease. About 60 per cent of hospitalisations are due to malaria.
The data we have indicate that malaria is the main cause of death among the Mozambican population, even though many people are infected with HIV/AIDS, said Songane. All forms of prevention, both of malaria and of HIV, must be rigorously followed. He urged Mozambican businesses to produce mosquito netting.
Currently the nets used to protect against mosquito bites are all imported.
If some industrial units produce fishing nets, why can't they produce mosquito nets ?, asked Songane. He thought that the manufacture and marketing of the nets, at accessible prices, would allow communities to adapt to this proven method of preventing malaria.
Songane noted that during the current African Union summit in Maputo, delegates are to pay considerable attention to malaria. Malaria is beginning to be seen, not as a secondary problem, but as a priority in the government programmes of various African countries, he said. Nowadays investing in health is an imperative for economic development.
During the Monday event, the Bank of Mozambique donated a variety of equipment to the RBM programme including microscopes for laboratory analysis, equipment for anti-mosquito spraying, and mosquito netting. (Source: Allafrica.com (Maputo), July 7, 2003)