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Villagers blame dirty river after malaria scare

Written by Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

LIMPOPO – After a rush of malaria cases were reported, rural villagers in Vhembe are blaming the illegal dumping of dirty nappies and dirty rivers for fuelling the spread of malaria-carrying mosquitos.

In Ha-Mphego village, outside Thohoyandou about six cases have been reported in recent days, causing fear to spread among local villagers who have not yet had their homes sprayed with mosquito repellent by the Department of Health.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that is spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitos. It is usually found in tropical and subtropical climates.

“It’s us who reside next to the local rivers who are in danger of being infected by malaria. People come here to dump rubbish from their homes including used baby diapers. Last week two of my neighbours were admitted at Tshilidzini Hospital with malaria and they were only discharged two days ago. We are living in fear as we do not know who might be next to be infected as nothing is being done to stop the spread of the virus,” said Ntovhedzeni Begwa, of Mphego village.

Earlier this year Health-e News reported about a malaria outbreak in Vhembe and Mopani districts.

Very lucky

“My husband and daughter were admitted at Tshilidzini Hospital and I was told that I was very lucky as the malaria was already at an advanced stage. I thank God that they are still alive. When they started getting sick we thought it was flu. But it got worse despite using flu medication. It was only when we visited the local clinic were the malaria was diagnosed,” said Maria Makhaya, another resident of Mphego village.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that is spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitos. It is usually found in tropical and subtropical climates.

Makhaya, who lives next to a river, has since appealed to fellow villagers to stop littering as she believes it’s one of the reasons why there is a sudden new outbreak of malaria in the village.

Some of the early symptoms of malaria include chills, fever, severe headache, nausea and vomiting. Spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Health, Derrick Kganyago said it was normal for malaria cases to be reported this time of the year, but advised the affected communities to contact their nearest health department offices.

“We normally advise people to visit their nearest clinics as soon as possible if they think they might have malaria and to report this to the department. We have already started with spraying the communities for malaria,” he said.

About the author

Ndivhuwo Mukwevho

Ndivhuwo Mukwevho is citizen journalist who is based in the Vhembe District of Limpopo province. He joined OurHealth in 2015 and his interests lie in investigative journalism and reporting the untold stories of disadvantaged rural communities. Ndivhuwo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies from the University of Venda and he is currently a registered student with UNISA.