News from HPPSA

Written: 25 May 2018

Humana People to People South Africa in partnership with the Mpumalanga Provincial Department of Health held a World Malaria Day Commemoration on the 22nd of May 2018. The commemoration was held in KwaMhlushwa, in Nkomazi Local Municipality, Mpumalanga. It is reported that Malaria transmission is more intense in the Lowveld areas of Mpumalanga with malaria cases recorded in Kruger National Park areas, Nkomazi, Bushbuckridge and Mbombela Municipalities. Malaria a disease which can be fatal and which affects millions of people, claiming many lives annually.

Held under the theme #ReadyToBeatMalaria, Humana People to People together with the Department of Health used this commemoration to call all concerned parties to be ready to end malaria. Addressing the crowd, The Department of health also confirmed that since 2017, the province has recorded a high number of malaria cases that amount to 9000 with 14 deaths.

The aim of the commemoration was to increase public awareness on how to tackle the malaria epidemic and mobilizing people to test for malaria. Humana People to People also used the platform to mobilize people to come and test, those tested positive were given treatment right there. More than 250 people attended the event and more than 150 people were tested on the day.    

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What is malaria

Malaria is defined by the World Health Organization as a life-threatening disease caused by parasites transmitted through the bites of infected female anopheles mosquitoes.

The fever is caused by blood parasites of the Genus Plasmodium, which are transmitted via a mosquito bite and can lead to complications like kidney failure, seizures, coma and death.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) describes Plasmodium as a group of single-celled animal parasites that lives on the red blood cells of many birds, reptiles and mammals. There are four human malaria species, of which P. falciparum is the most dangerous, but also the most common in Africa.

The parasite multiplies in two stages. Sporozoites, when injected, first travel to the liver where one cell produces tens of thousands of merozoites, which enter the blood system and multiply further.

The liver stage can also become dormant and re-emerge after months or years. The parasites feed on red blood cells in the bloodstream, divide and destroy the cells when breaking free. Each parasite produces new ones, which then invade another red blood cell and start dividing again.

Where is malaria found?

The areas of transmission of malaria in South Africa are the north -eastern parts of Limpopo (along the borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe), the lowveld areas of Mpumalanga (including the Kruger National Park but excluding Mbombela and immediate surrounds) and the far northern parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal. While the Kruger National Park does fall in the malaria risk area, the transmission risk would be considered low to moderate, depending on the specific camps visited for overnight stays.

The majority of malaria cases treated in South Africa have a history of travel from Mozambique.

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