JUBA, South Sudan’s Health Ministry and the World Health Organization (WHO) said malaria has claimed 99 lives while almost 770,000 cases were reported in different parts of the country in the first six months of 2018.

“Since the beginning of 2018, at least 769,966 malaria cases including 99 deaths have been reported countrywide,” said Makur Matur Kariom, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of Health, told journalists.

Kariom told reporters in Juba on Thursday that malaria remained a leading killer among children and pregnant mothers in the World’s youngest republic.

“Currently malaria is the top cause of illness and death in South Sudan with most cases and deaths occurring in children and pregnant mothers especially in strife-torn areas affected by food insecurity and acute malnutrition,” said Kariom.

He said the Ministry of Health is keenly monitoring malaria trends in the country to avert new infections during the onset of the rain season.

The South Sudanese official said the national malaria control program and partners have also finalized arrangements to distribute essential commodities like drugs and long-lasting insecticide treated nets countrywide besides carrying out indoor residual spraying in selected camps for internally displaced persons.

“As part of the national efforts to enhance public health safety, the ministry of health has established a national disease surveillance system in collaboration with the WHO African region integrated disease surveillance and response strategy,” said Kariom.

Charimari Lincoln Sunganai, the WHO Medical Officer, said multilateral agencies are ready to support South Sudan to ensure that malaria preparedness and response is strengthened.

Sunganai said South Sudan’s Ministry of Health and WHO will be distributing 885,500 long-lasting mosquito nets during 2018 to prevent new malaria infections.

He disclosed that distribution of the first batch of insecticide treated nets will commence in July.

“We expect to distribute 885,000 nets to cover an estimated 540,000 people in Western Bahr el Ghazal region and an additional 980,000 people in Western Equatorial region,” he said.

Source: Nam News Network