Southern Africa’s biggest parasite

Khadija Magardie Malaria is by far Africa’s most important tropical parasitic disease, and kills more people than any other communicable disease except tuberculosis. And though the geographical

area affected by malaria has shrunk over the past 50 years, the Southern African region continues to experience a resurgence in malaria transmission, especially in the past four years. The National Malaria Research Programme, run by the Medical Research Council (MRC), attributes this to factors such as population migration, drug and insecticide resistance, and climatic changes. Falling within the high-risk areas in the region are all border areas, which the MRC says indicates the need for the disease to be viewed as “a regional, rather than country- specific problem”. Specifically, areas in close proximity to Mozambique, like the “buffer zone” of the Kruger Park area, are high-risk areas.

The Department of Health has expressed concern that the disease appears to be moving further into the country, away from the high-risk areas. Outbreaks of malaria have moved as far as Nelspruit, Northern Province. Cases are also being found as far south as Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal and there have been isolated cases in Pretoria on the highveld. Malaria cases normally peak at certain times, like during summer, but health authorities say the rapid increase in malaria cases is often not even within “malaria season”. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified five Southern African countries, including South Africa, as experiencing an overall increase in malaria transmission.

Countries from this region constitute more than 90% of all malaria cases. Among the high-risk groups are pregnant women, non-immune travellers, refugees, displaced people and labourers entering epidemic areas. The number of deaths attributed to malaria in the region exceed 180E000 a year. This is further exacerbated by the fact that many countries use the majority of their health budgets to fight the HIV/Aids pandemic, leaving little money to fight clinical deaths from malaria. According to the WHO, the direct and indirect costs of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa exceed $2- billion.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Tension over who’s boss of courts

In a letter, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng questions whether Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has acted constitutionally

SABC sued over ‘bad’ clip of Ramaphosa

A senior employee at the public broadcaster wants compensation for claims of ‘sabotage’

Soundtrack to a pandemic: Africa’s best coronavirus songs

Drawing on lessons from Ebola, African artists are using music to convey public health messaging. And they are doing it in style

In East Africa, the locusts are coming back for more

In February the devastating locust swarms were the biggest seen in East Africa for 70 years. Now they’re even bigger

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders