MAPUTO, Malaria remains one of the main public health problems in Mozambique, with between four and six million cases reported each year, says Health Minister Nazira Abdula.

The Maputo daily, Noticias, quoted her as saying in Chimoio, capital of the central province of Manica, where she was launching a national anti-malaria communication campaign on Monday, that so far this year, 5,591,391 cases of the disease had been diagnosed, with 754 deaths.

In 2016, there were fewer cases, but more deaths with 4,612,514 people were diagnosed with the disease and 900 of them dying.

The current campaign, Nazira said, was intended to raise knowledge of the disease and measures that can be taken to prevent it.

The main problem, she argued, is that people are used to living alongside malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and do not regard the insects as life-threatening. Instead they take the fatalistic view that malaria is just part of their lives, that it is normal to catch the disease, and that with treatment it will be cured.

Although many of us are aware that malaria is an avoidable, curable, but deadly disease, we are reluctant to use the interventions available that can prevent it,” she said.

She stressed the importance of sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets. But in many cases, people claim they feel lack of air when they sleep under netting. In other cases, the priority in using mosquito nets goes, not to the people most at risk (children and pregnant women), but to the male head of the household.