Thursday, July 18, 2024

Botswana on the brink of malaria elimination

Botswana has made significant headway in the fight against malaria and is nearing the elimination phase.  

An analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the trends by region shows that Botswana is on track for both the malaria morbidity and mortality Global Technical Strategy (GTS) milestones.

The WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 – adopted by the World Health Assembly in May 2015 – provides a technical framework for all malaria-endemic countries. Its objectives are to provide regional support and country programmes in their efforts towards malaria control and elimination.

The World Malaria Report 2020 highlights that Botswana is among seven countries in the African Region “on track to achieve the GTS 2020 target of a 40% reduction in malaria case incidence.” The report further highlights that the estimated indigenous cases in Botswana declined from 2229 in 2010 to 257 in 2019. While Botswana recorded an 8% increase from 326 to 352 reported indigenous, imported and unclassified cases between 2015 and 2019, the report states “the number of indigenous cases in Botswana declined over the same period, from 326 to 169 cases.

“Botswana, Cabo Verde, Eswatini, and Sao Tome and Principe reported zero malaria deaths in 2019 and were projected to maintain this in 2020,” states the report. Algeria has already been certified malaria free.

Over the years, most malaria cases in Botswana were recorded in the Northern parts of the country whilst the Southern parts had almost zero reported cases. The report also states that Botswana was the only country with over 80% coverage of high risk population with either long-lasting insecticidal net (LLINs) or indoor residual spraying (IRS) in 2019.

Despite Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia and South Africa having nationwide elimination programmes, Botswana has a low international malaria funding per person at risk, whilst Eswatini had the highest.

Botswana has also played a key role in the Elimination 8 (E8). E8 is a regional initiative that provides a platform for joint planning and negotiation towards strategies that mutually reinforce the eight southern African country members’ individual and shared elimination strategies. However it is not clear yet if a new strain of drug resistant malaria which has been detected in Rwanda will affect Botswana. Malaria is still endemic to 14 of the 16 southern African countries, except for Lesotho and the Seychelles.

The World Malaria Report 2020 report is based on information received from more than 80 countries and areas with ongoing malaria transmission. The report also provides a comprehensive update on global and regional malaria data and trends. The report tracks investments in malaria programmes and research as well as progress across all intervention areas: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, elimination and surveillance.

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