CAPE TOWN, April 25 (Xinhua) -- South Africa has made great achievements in reducing the malaria risk and is moving towards malaria elimination by 2018, the government said on Friday.
This means an interruption of local mosquito-borne malaria transmission in the country (zero cases of locally transmitted malaria), the Department of Health said in a statement marking the World Malaria Day, which falls on April 25.
South Africa is part of the global community that commemorates the World Malaria Day, whose global theme this year is:"Invest in the future. Defeat malaria."
The South African government is working with different partners to ensure that sufficient resources are invested in eliminating malaria, department spokesperson Popo Maja said.
"The South African National Department of Health will use World Malaria Day to focus on the achievements, progress and challenges in the fight against malaria in the country and outside the country, especially in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region," Maja said.
Thanks to the National and Provincial Malaria Control Programmes, South Africa has been successful in reducing the malaria risk in the country with the number of reported cases decreasing from 60,000 in the 2000 season, to an average of around 7,000 cases annually. Malaria in South Africa is seasonal and occurs in certain geographical areas of Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria continues to kill a child every minute, even though the disease is wholly preventable and treatable.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes which generally bite between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m..
Symptoms appear within 10-15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The symptoms include fever, headache, chills and vomiting.
To date, there are no licensed vaccines against malaria, and people are advised to take personal protection methods when visiting malaria endemic area within and outside South Africa.