COVID-19 pandemic effects hamper communicable diseases fight in Namibia – Official
Although the country has made significant progress over the last decade, the ongoing threat of malaria re-emergence is a key barrier to achieving elimination, an official said this week
The malaria burden has surged over the past two years due to logistical challenges posed by COVID-19 and negatively affecting the procurement of the required insecticides, the Health and Social Services Minister, Dr Kalumbi Shangula said on the occasion of the official opening of the management Development Forum 2022 in Windhoek.
“Some malaria-endemic regions, particularly in the north and northeastern parts of Namibia still report outbreaks,” he said, adding that the most recent malarial outbreak was reported in Zambezi Region during February 2022.
“We will spare no effort to attain our goal of malaria elimination in Namibia,” he added.
Meanwhile, speaking on the topic of communicable diseases, Shangula also said it is a matter of grave concern to note that Namibia continues to observe missed or undiagnosed tuberculosis (TB) cases in Namibia.
“According to WHO statistics, this figure is estimated to be at 44%. The COVID 19- pandemic has further aggravated our capacities to detect TB cases, mainly through interruptions to the diagnostic supply chain, redirection of resources and the effect of restrictions,” he added.
Shangula said the intersection of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics have a detrimental effect on the control of TB.
Communicable diseases are spread from one person to another through a variety of ways that include: contact with blood and bodily fluids; breathing in an airborne virus; or being bitten by an insect.