Zimbabwe’s first 21 days of lockdown has witnessed more records of malaria deaths and infections than COVID-19, a development that has left critics questioning the government.
The Ministry of Health on its Twitter handle yesterday said malaria claimed 131 deaths whilst updates on COVID-19 reports of three lives lost due to the global pandemic.
“The cumulative figures for malaria are 135 585 and 131 deaths. A total 201 malaria outbreaks have been reported throughout the country mostly from malarious provinces such as Manicaland, Masvingo and Mash East. 90 outbreaks have been controlled,” the Health Ministry says.
Zimbabwe has confirmed 25 positive cases including the three deaths and one recovery from the 2626 screening and diagnostics tests conducted.
18 690 malaria cases and 17 deaths were reported on the week that ended with Zimbabwe celebrating 40 years of independence.
“Of the reported cases, 1 935 (10.4%) were from the under five years of age. The deaths were reported from Mutoko District (4) in Mashonaland East Province, Mbire District (1),” the Ministry says.
“Mt Darwin (1) & Rushinga District (1) in Mashonaland Central Province, Mutare District (3) and Chimanimani (1) in Manicaland Province, Hurungwe District (1), Makonde District (1) in Mashonaland West Province and Bikita Distirct (1) and Chiredzi District (1) in Masvingo Province.”
Malaria prone district in Zimbabwe are Mt Darwin, Rushinga, Gokwe North, Gokwe South and Mudzi according to PSI and the highest risk of the disease’s transition is in the rainy season from October to May.
Government critics are already questioning the sincerity of malaria cases produced by the Zimbabwean authorities.
Hopewell Chin’ono on Twitter said
A week ago I alluded to the fact that a senior health official had told me that around 100 Zimbabweans had died from the Coronavirus.
Then today the @MoHCCZim says 134 Zimbabweans died from malaria.
— Hopewell Chin’ono (@daddyhope) April 18, 2020
Another Twitter user responded by saying
Something is fishy. Could be a cover up for CoVid19 deaths. Why all of a sudden be particular in announcing malaria deaths? Food for thought.
— Advocate Top Guy.🇿🇼 (@JechecheMunashe) April 18, 2020
One also said
Those statistics suits covid 19 cases and casualties.
— Blessing Tafadzwa, PMP (@legaz_b) April 18, 2020