Malaria cases in Namibia have been gradually growing over the last several years, and as a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) has provided help to the government via the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) to enhance malaria control initiatives. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) have been working together for the past three years to carry out a larviciding demonstration project in five malaria-infested districts chosen from five different regions. These districts are located in Omusati, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Kavango East, and Kavango West.
On April 28, 2022, the Kavango East Region’s Honorable Governor Bonifatius Wakudumo and the WHO Representative, Dr. Charles Sagoe-Moses, visited Mayana village in the Kavango East Region to see the projects that were being worked on there. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the results of a pilot project that lasted for three years and attempted to eradicate malaria transmission by killing mosquito larvae using chemicals that were safe for the environment. They saw the application of several adult mosquito collecting procedures to monitor the adult mosquito population density in the villages as well as the mapping of the larval habitat. They were also familiarised with the larval survey, which is implemented for monitoring larvae activity and density in the breeding areas, as well as the larviciding demonstration, which is for destroying mosquito larvae before they become adults.
Dr. Sagoe-Moses and Hon. Wakudumo continued to engage the village leadership as well as the beneficiaries in order to evaluate the effect that the initiative had on the community and how well it was received. The leadership of the community, the beneficiaries of the initiative, and the field workers of the project all expressed their gratitude for the project and attested to its success in reducing the number of mosquitoes and instances of malaria in the villages. The initiative also shown that lay individuals from the community can effectively undertake advanced vector control operations with the correct training and direction. Because of this, there is a need to improve community participation and community ownership of the malaria control efforts.
An upsurge in the number of instances of malaria was seen all around the world and in the nation after the arrival of COVID-19. The World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report anticipated that there would be 241 million cases of malaria and 627 thousand deaths worldwide in 2020. This would imply 14 million more cases in 2020 compared to 2019, as well as 69 thousand more fatalities. In the same year, Namibia reported more than 13,633 instances of malaria throughout the country, which resulted in more than 40 fatalities. In 2021, Namibia recorded 13,740 cases of malaria, the same number as in 2020, but only 15 fatalities, a significant drop from the 43 deaths that were reported in 2020.
It is the goal of this project to strengthen national capabilities for the implementation and scaling up of evidence-based, innovative, diverse, and environmentally sound malaria vector control interventions, with a particular focus on winter larviciding as an additional vector control tool, in order to eliminate malaria by the year 2022. The project is being funded by the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Health Organization – African Region (GEF/UNEP/WHO-AFRO). Ten study villages have been chosen, and a total of 35 members of the field team have been recruited. These members include twenty (20) community members, ten (10) field operators, and five (5) district coordinators, who are environmental health practitioners (EHPs).
The study will come to a close in June of 2022, and its results will lead to the scaling up of diverse and ecologically sound malaria vector control treatments throughout the WHO Africa area, which will finally contribute to the eradication of malaria.