Limpopo’s health department is aiming at significantly reducing malaria cases in 2019. The province has seen a number of people dying due to the deadly endemic in the last few years.

The department has started with the process of fumigation in the lowveld regions, including the Mopani and Vhembe districts.

Maria Nukeri of Zava village outside Giyani almost lost her 5 year-old grandson to malaria in 2018. The boy was diagnosed along with hundreds of others in Zava and surrounding villages. Nukeri says that malaria is a problem in the area.

“Malaria is rife in this area, it is dangerous. I’m asking all the people here to allow the people from government to come into the house and spray. Last year (2018) I almost lost my grandson; he was terribly ill. Please allow these people to help you.”

Thousands of malaria cases were reported in the province in 2018 and over 130 cases were detected earlier in 2019. About 400 seasonal sprayers have been deployed across malaria-prone regions.

MEC for health in Limpopo, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, says that they have been able to reduce the number of malaria cases in the province.

“We have been able to provisionally reduce the number of cases of malaria from over 18 000 in the previous year to just a mere 6 000. So that tells that indeed we can be able to move forward if you also look at the number of deaths that we reduced from 160 to just 38.”

The department is continuing using the much-criticised DDT pesticide. DDT became infamous after experts warned of its potentially harmful environmental impact.