“Ever since the winter season began, we have been receiving patients presenting with malaria,” says nurse Mashudu Nekhavhambe from the area’s Matavhela Clinic. “Now it is getting worse because more patients are coming in with malaria and those patients are from the same village.”
In January, media reported that Limpopo had seen 700 malaria cases in just three months. In March, media reported provincial warnings of a malaria outbreak in Limpopo’s Mopani District.
Malaria occurs regularly in Limpopo’s Vhembe and Mopani districts, as well as northeastern parts of Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.
Gundani resident Masindi Makuya tells OurHealth that her 14-year-old daughter contracted the illnesses, which is spread through the bite of infected mosquitos. She and other community members blame the increase in cases on standing water collecting in a nearby dump.
“It is no secret that it is caused by mosquitoes from the dumping site near by here at our village,” says Makuya, who adds the site is poorly serviced by municipal trucks.
Residents say they have reported it to local ward counsellor Sylvia Thambatshira. Thambatshira says she is still waiting to hear from the municipality about whether an alternative dumping site can be found.
“(The municipality) gave me the answer that they are still looking for a place to make a dumping site,” says Thambatshira, who adds that she has stressed to local government that the site may be helping to spread malaria among the community.
In 2011, South Africa saw about 10,000 cases of malaria of which about 4,000 confirmed cases were reported in Limpopo. However, the country saw just 50 deaths from the disease in the same year.