Z’bar cautions on diseases related to breathing

ZANZIBAR: THE Zanzibar government has emphasised the need for the public to take measures to control diseases related to breathing complications.

Minister for Health Nassor Ahmed Mazrui cautioned the public to observe the health measures, saying the cases of breathing complications and malaria were on the rise.

“Our hospitals in Unguja and Pemba received 15,310 people who showed up for testing. A total of 198 were diagnosed with breathing difficulties out of whom 29 tested positive for Covid-19,” Mr Mazrui stated.

He said it was unfortunate that from January this year to early this month in the Isles, a total of 37 people died of Covid-19.

He warned that the number of people contracting breathing complications are on rise, urging people in Zanzibar to avoid unnecessary crowds, hugging, hand-shake, and go for (first or second booster) Covid-19 vaccination to minimise risks of getting sick.

Mr Mazrui said that although the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 no longer a threat, people must continue taking precautions because it still kills.

With regard to Malaria, the minister said there has been a clear re-emergence of the disease in Zanzibar after several years of control with prevalence below one-per cent.

“We are almost overwhelmed by malaria patients. We have so far lost three people,” the Minister said as he attributed the problem to climate change which has enabled resistance to malaria drugs and sprays.

He also blamed some people who have been refusing to have their areas fumigated or sprayed to kill mosquitoes, including failing to keep their surroundings clean to avoid generating breeding sites for the mosquitos.

“I take this opportunity, through the media, to emphasise on collective responsibility in controlling malaria. It is possible to eliminate malaria if we all show commitment,” he said, adding that travellers, students and security guards who spend many hours outside their homes should also take health precautionary measures.

He said the famous Zanzibar Stone Town is among areas with chronic malaria cases, and that the prevention and health education department in collaboration with the Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Programme (ZAMEP) have increased public awareness so that the problems are controlled.

Meanwhile, the recent inspection of public and private hospitals, dispensaries, and clinics in Unguja and Pemba Islands, has proved that some health centres are of poor standards, prompting the closure of five private dispensaries.

Minister Mazrui said having inspected all public health centres and all private facilities, it was established that health services were being offered in substandard environments with unqualified health personnel using poor equipment.

Mr Mazrui said this year the private hospitals board inspected 113 out of the 155 facilities including five hospitals, four health centres, 91 dispensaries, and 13 consultation centres.

“I will also start inspecting all the private health facilities from December 18, 2023 (today) to further push them to meet the required standards, while the government is working tirelessly to improve all the public hospitals,” he promised.

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