It is good to know that the ministry of Health and Social Welfare has introduced malaria rapid diagnostic test equipment (mRDT) in Dar es Salaam, thanks to the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the National Malaria Control Programme. The mRDT, which is more efficient than the traditional microscope test, is now available for both public and private health facilities countrywide.
The mRDT costs Sh9,000 per piece. This has dropped drasticaally to Sh1,100 after negotiations with the manufacturer. Now that it is affordable virtually to all and sundry, we should see more people turn out for the test if they suffer the symptoms of this killer disease.
Malaria remains prevalent here despite the fact that the government has spearheaded a national malaria prevention campaign and distributed insecticide treated mosquito nets.
While this is commendable, a public awareness campaign to destroy mosquito breeding zones in necessary. Tanzania can be become a malaria-free nation only if it takes a holistic approach to ending the disease.
In the first phase government, we used to have public awareness malaria prevention campaigns that included even schoolchildren. that strategy was quite successful. Because of this, children grew up knowing that it was essential to clear bushes and grass and cover stagnant ponds near their homes. They understood that treating them with environmentally-friendly chemicals would reduce mosquito bites and keep them free from malaria.
Today, destroying mosquito breeding habitats appears to be something new. In fact, it had been forgotten altogether. We need to revive it to ensure a holistic malaria prevention campaign.
Think of it this way. How effective will a malaria dose be if, on finishing it, a patient is sure to get another attack -- perhaps an even more severe one because they live near an accommodating environment? Yes, a malaria free-Tanzania is possible!