Zomba District Health Office (ZDHO) has issued an advisory to residents, emphasizing the importance of avoiding open defecation as a preventive measure against bilharzia.
The call to action came during a press briefing held by the office to announce the commencement of a mass drug administration (MDA) campaign scheduled from September 25 to 27, 2023.
Arnold Mndalira, the spokesperson for ZDHO, said the office has set a target to reach 211,000 children aged five to 15 residing in 1, 998 villages across the district.
Zomba District, classified as endemic for Bilharzia with a moderate prevalence rate, has led authorities to focus their efforts on school-age children in areas where the disease is more prevalent.
Consequently, parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to accompany their children when receiving the medication.
Mndalira further advised parents to ensure their children are adequately nourished before taking the prescribed drugs.
“The only preventive and treatment measure available is the administration of Praziquantel and Albendazole. Due to the potency of these medications, we kindly request that children are well-fed prior to taking the drugs to mitigate the risk of potential complications,” Mndalira emphasized.
He also highlighted the severe consequences of untreated Bilharzia, including infertility and genitalia-related health issues, underscoring the urgency of the MDA campaign and the need for community cooperation in Zomba to combat this public health challenge.